Widening of Hwy 85 to Begin in 2023
Friday, January 14, 2022
With the anticipated completion of right-of-way acquisition work this year, construction is expected to begin in 2023 to widen Highway 85 to four lanes between Watford City and the Long-X Bridge.

According to information provided by Cal Klewin, director of the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association (TREA), right-of-way acquisition should be complete sometime this summer, after which the ND Department of Transportation (NDDOT) will move forward with relocating utilities that are in the way. In many cases, utilities are located on the edge of right-of-way, which is why NDDOT is waiting to move them.

TREA's report indicates that NDDOT will likely bid the project in the fall of 2022 or early spring of 2023, and dirt work will begin as soon as weather permits. The next step - the stretch of Hwy 85 to the south of the Long X Bridge - is particularly challenging, so a consultant will be hired to plan the section between Long X and the Highway 200 junction.

Due to its location in the heart of the oilpatch, Highway 85 sees more heavy truck traffic than North Dakota's interstate highways, creating obvious safety concerns on a two-lane highway. Click here to see a table that compares oversize truck traffic on various ND highways.