McKenzie County has led the state in fatal traffic accidents for the past two years --- accounting for 20 percent of the deaths on North Dakota highways.
Officials are pushing to change that statistic by distributing traffic away from the highway.
One option is a 'north bypass' that was proposed years ago.
The bypass 'north' of Watford City would cut 40 miles off a trip from Williston to New Town and Keene.
The project would require work on three existing gravel roads including McKenzie County Road 10 --- the project as a whole could cost nearly $100 million dollars.
County officials have worked on the proposal for two years and the project now has the support of the Governor's office.
(Ron Anderson, McKenzie County Commission Chairman) "It's used extensively. We did a travel study on it last fall and we have 400-500 trucks a day using that road now in as bad of shape as it's in. We know it's going to take traffic off of 85. Which, by the way, we've led the state the last two years in deaths out here. The only way we're going to get that number down is to distribute this traffic over more roads rather than confining it all to (highways) 85 and 23."
Unrelated to the 'north' bypass, the Department of Transportation will be working on an east bypass around Watford City this summer.