Proposed Bismarck Traffic-Control Project Draws a Crowd

Local News

Construction season is booming in North Dakota, and new ideas for growth are all the talk, especially in the capital city. We have an update on Bismarck’s latest proposal.

Community members have gone so far as to say traffic is out of control between State and Washington Streets on 43rd Avenue. The city is responding, but some say it should’ve happened years ago.

KX News sat down with City Engineer Gabe Schell to see what they want to change, and how big of a fuss it might cause.

He says they’re picturing 43rd Avenue as more of an urbanized corridor.

Schell adds, “It was time for us to look at what the next phase of that particular corridor’s life looks like.”

And it did cause a bit of a fuss because people were starting to line up an hour before a public input meeting.

One Bismarck resident shares, “Well I think anything is better than what we have.”

The meeting was held at KLJ Engineering, the group that worked on the initial designs, to improve traffic on this mile stretch between Washington and State Streets, on 43rd Avenue.

Schell explains, “It’s a testament that if we are establishing a larger footprint, and we’re using vehicles to travel from point A to point B, that we’ll have a bigger demand on that system.”

And growth equals traffic, which almost doubled on this road between 2012 and 2016, and it’s expected to more than double again by 2045.

Here are the basics of the redesign:

One option is expanding the road to three lanes and adding roundabouts. It will cover traffic 10-20 years out.

Community members seemed awfully concerned about the idea of roundabouts.

The Bismarck resident shares, “I think people prefer the traditional way of doing things in America.”

Another resident adds, “They’re not safe, and well, he said they slow down the traffic. Well, I’m sure they do, because you can’t go around them at 35 miles an hour.”

A couple of residents said the road isn’t safe now, and the increase in injury-related crashes proves that.

The second option is to build five lanes, but the city would have to wait to build until traffic is heavy enough for the DOT to allow them to put in traffic signals.

This could be years in the future.

The projected cost of the improvements will be $9.1-million.

Some of the funding will come from the new half-cent sales tax.

The next step is for the engineers to bring this to the City Commission.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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