Eye on Energy - Road Concerns - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Eye on Energy - Road Concerns

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Winter will soon turn to spring...though it appears it will be a bit later than normal this year.

When it does, spring load restrictions will go on roads across the state -- with the hope of preserving some of the county and state roads in the region.

In our Eye on Energy today, Perry Olson talks with Ward County Highway Engineer Dana Larsen about the task of keeping the roads drivable all year long.

Trucks dominate the prairie land of North Dakota now...and while they can be dangerous for other drivers...they can also take a toll roads themselves...especially when they are too heavy.

(Dana Larsen - Ward County Highway Engineer) "Those overloaded trucks can really cause a lot of damage during the spring restrictions."

Once the thaw arrives in the state, load restrictions will go into effect -- putting limits on just how heavy trucks can be when they drive the highways...Dana Larsen says Ward County follows the leader once the ground releases the frost...

(Dana Larsen - Ward County Highway Engineer) "Once that happens the DOT will put restrictions on and we follow the DOT

And for good reason. Combine heavy trucks -- and lots of them -- with soft surfaces and you'll see a road destroyed quickly...

(Dana Larsen - Ward County Highway Engineer) "What we used to have for a 20 year design when you double the traffic your life of the road gets cut in half and when you have more overloads you can shorten that even more."

The state has sent more funding to counties to help with the rebuilding task...but that money is quickly spent.when roads get as bad as some have...

(Dana Larsen - Ward County Highway Engineer) "After a few years of hauling on it we go, okay, we did the spot overlay and have spent 100K in patching the following year so we are going to have to pave it. By the time we come to work on it we can't even pave it...we have to grind it up and start over."

That means millions of dollars -- and a road that takes time to rebuild. The restrictions can help...and Larsen and his colleagues around the region hope they do. With your Eye on Energy, Perry Olson, KX News.

Larsen says the Ward County Sheriff's Department will have more of a presence on county roads this spring and summer watching for overloaded trucks -- and the Highway Patrol also watches for violators as well.

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