ROADS/BRIDGES: North Dakota DOT's $680M in road work will top last year's total

April 19, 2016

Funding has increased for the state's construction projects despite DOT budget cuts. 

Mild spring weather has set road construction in motion earlier than usual in North Dakota, and more money will be spent on highways and bridges than last year despite recent budget cuts to the state department of transportation (NDOT).

NDOT has $680 million in work planned for this construction season, up from $615 million last year, spokeswoman Jamie Olson said Monday.

While the orange cones won't be as widespread as in 2013 and 2014, which each saw about $820 million in work, "It's still a pretty big construction program," she said. "Now that some of those roadways have been built up in the western part of the state, it's kind of going back and doing overlays and additional work on some of the other roadways."

Crews will finish some major multiyear projects this year, including the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Williston, bypasses in Dickinson and Killdeer and a segment of Main Avenue in West Fargo.

NDOT will release its complete 2016 construction schedule next month, but work on several projects has already commenced. "A lot of them have gotten started already. The weather kind of eased up a little earlier than usual," Olson said.

State lawmakers approved $991 million in one-time funding last year for road projects during the 2015-17 biennium. But budget cuts ordered in February to help balance a projected $1.07 billion revenue shortfall reduced that amount by nearly $22 million. NDOT also cut funding for road projects in non-oil-producing counties by $4.5 million to cover its $26.6 million share of the budget cuts.

Anderson said the department's revised revenue projections are proving accurate so far.

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