KILLDEER, North Dakota — Construction is beginning on a $30 million bypass to route truck traffic around the western North Dakota oil patch town of Killdeer.
Ground was broken for the project on Tuesday and work was beginning Wednesday on the 4-mile, two-lane project that will move traffic around the west side of the community, connecting state Highways 200 and 22, The Bismarck Tribune and KXMB-TV reported.
Killdeer is a small community, with only 750 residents counted in the 2010 census. With the oil boom of recent years, traffic on Highway 22 — which also serves as the town's Main Street — has increased from about 1,500 vehicles per day to as many as 13,000.
Traffic is so intense that school buses transport children from one side of the highway to the other side.
The bypass "is going to be an amazing change, I think, in the amount of traffic pressure people feel around Killdeer," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said.
Bypasses are becoming a common solution for oil patch communities to divert all but local traffic. Other cities with bypasses or planned projects include Williston, Watford City, Alexander, Dickinson and New Town.
The Killdeer project includes two roundabouts, which are circular intersections without traffic lights or stop signs in which traffic flows in only one direction.
"It's an efficient movement of traffic that allows traffic to flow through, with very seldom do people have to stop and they can easily make a movement," State Transportation Director Grant Levi said.
The bypass is to be ready in a year.
"This is huge," City Councilwoman Anita Mjolhus said. "This relieves me to no end."