BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — As a result of our last snowfall, Burleigh County’s roads are now considered to be in dangerous condition. Officials say that our state’s freezing and thawing temperatures have caused the recent moisture of the snow to saturate our gravel roads — meaning that what could be your everyday route for going to work, taking your children to school, or both is now being labeled as a dangerous journey.
According to Burleigh County’s Highway Department, this same situation is occurring all across the region. The number of calls for aid that they have received, they say, has increased significantly, from bumpy car rides to resident’s cars slipping and sliding into ditches. Some concerned drivers would say we jumped right into the winter season without much time to enjoy the Fall, and the results of that have been shown through the condition of Burleigh County roads almost instantly. The Burleigh County Highway Department’s engineer Marcus Hall, who has been with the department for fifteen years, states these are the worst road conditions he’s ever seen.
“We’ve got a frozen layer underneath the ground that’s not allowing any of the moisture to sink in at this point” Hall states, “so it’s all sitting on top of the gravel roads. We’ve got farmers and residents out there trying to use them, and they’re basically breaking it up.”
The county is warning motorists, casual drivers, and those who drive for a living of the danger that can come when traversing these roads, and are asking people to limit travel on gravel pathways until conditions improve. However, many individuals are still questioning why Burleigh County’s roads are behaving this way when compared to other gravel paths. The answer lies in the material that is used to construct them here in North Dakota.
“Most of our gravel that we’ve been placing over the last few years has a relatively high clay count,” Hall explains, “which works great in dry weather. It just doesn’t work that well in wet weather, and because of this frost layer, these roads are staying wet. They’re not drying well at all, therefore it kind of compounds the problem.”
The county is working on roadways that are accessible and will be addressing repairs as soon as conditions allow. Until then, though, the best they can do is warn ND travelers of the situation at hand and advise them on how to proceed down these precarious pathways.
“We wouldn’t even know where to stop closing roads,” Hall continues. “We’re having problems across the board, so we want to tell the residents out there to choose wisely when you leave your house, where you’re going how many times you do it in a day, try to reduce the number of trips you have to take on these gravel roads.”