Summer construction projects aimed at safer traveling for drivers

The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) is always analyzing roads and intersections in an attempt to make them safer for drivers around the state.

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Posted May 23, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) is always analyzing roads and intersections in an attempt to make them safer for drivers around the state.

“We call them safety improvements,” said Jamie Olson, Public Information Officer with the NDDOT.

These safety improvements include some projects slated to begin this summer in, and around the New England area.

Mainly adding turn lanes and widening the road, the projects all have the same purpose, driver safety.

“There’s always some of those things we have our eye on and are ready to do…where we kind of try and enhance the safety at some of these places,” Olson said. “So it’s always kind of an ongoing task.”

According to Olson, there will be turn lanes added both north and south bound at the intersection of highway 21 and highway 22. North, and south bound turn lanes will also be added to the intersection at Elevator road.

Another south bound turn lane will be constructed at the intersection of 12th Street and Highway 22.

But the biggest safety improvement included in the summer project involves the stretch of Highway 21 that borders Slope and Hettinger County.

This piece of road has a very defined s-curve that has been hazardous for drivers for quite some time.

“We’ve had some major accidents out there over the last eight years that I’ve been on,” said Sarah Warner, Hettinger County Sheriff. “I think it’s going to improve safety out there.”

Heading up the project is local Schwartz Construction.

The start of the construction was going to be the beginning of June, but because of some delays with the weather and when the bid was awarded, they are aiming for mid-June.

“Our target is June 2nd…but it’s probably going to be closer to the 15th of June, or the middle of June,” said Randy Schwartz, owner and operator of Schwartz Construction.

The project will be about a two-month process and cut the sharpness of the curvature down.

“The curve will be straightened out substantially,” Schwartz said. “There will still be a curve there but it’s not going to be as sharp.”

According to Schwartz “it’ll be a safer curve.”

The construction will hasten traffic flow on that stretch of road, but it won’t be completely shut down to travelers.

“There will always going to be one lane open,” Schwartz said.

In an effort to ease traffic flow Schwartz indicated the implementation of pilot cars to guide drivers safely through the construction zone.

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