Area Transportation Now -- And 25 Years Down The Road - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Area Transportation Now -- And 25 Years Down The Road

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Planners are hard at work developing a transportation approach for the next quarter century.  There's great incentive, since roughly $300 million hangs in the balance. 

That's the amount of money the area receives from the federal government for roadway projects.  In turn, the feds require periodic updates to the long range transportation plan.  It's also a community-driven process that establishes a vision for mobility in Bismarck, Mandan, Lincoln and parts of Burleigh and Morton Counties.

"We look at what are some of the existing transportation issues from a safety standpoint, from a congestion stand point, that are happening in the region now, and then what we anticipate to be in the region over the next 25 years out to year 2040," says Ben Ehreth, Transportation Planner, Bismarck-Mandan Metropolitan Planning Organization.

A lot can change in 25 years or so.  In 1990, there were nearly 84,000 people in Burleigh and Morton counties.  By 2012, 30,000 more people arrived, increasing the population to almost 114,000.  

As a result, one idea that keeps reappearing is a metro-area beltway.  "One of the options that's being looked at on the Bismarck side of the River was an interchange at roughly 66th Street to provide an opportunity for the traveling public not wanting to come through the Bismarck-Mandan area that might be just passing through to the North," says Ehreth.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization wants your input on this and other transportation needs.  It's called "Envision2040," and you can learn more and weigh-in at www.envisionbisman2040.com, or check out their Facebook page -- www.facebook.com/envisionbisman2040.

Transportation planners say one of the biggest challenges ahead is that as the population increases, funding is not likely to keep pace.

 

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