MINOT – The Ward County Commissioners approved Tuesday a letter of support for a grant from the federal government to plan the future southwest corridor.
The commissioners looked at different options last summer for where the connector corridor could be located, to relieve congestion on Highways 2, 52, and 83. The county is now in the process of applying for a grant from the Rebuilding American Infastructure with Sustainability and Equity program for the planning of phase one and two of the project. The planning could cost millions of dollars, and the project itself is projected to cost $60-70 million.
“The planning would consist of environmental analysis, equity analysis, community engagement, feasibility, and cost analysis, with the goal of having the project to about a 30% design,” said Dana Larsen, highway engineer.
Because the federal funding would only cover 30% of the design, Larsen told the commissioners the RAISE grant would provide a study for where exactly the corridor would be, but it would not provide any detailed drawings.
“You’d have enough design done so you would understand the environmental impacts, and understand the scope of the right of way that you need, so by the time you get to that, that’s about a 30% design,” said Larsen. “We’d be sending surveys out to understand the grounds and geography, and we’d also have soil scientists looking at if there’s wetlands, if there’s any things on the endangered list, if there’s any cultural issues that you have to avoid. Once that’s done you’d probably start putting together a much more detailed route, and then you’d go back for more public input as well.”
Larsen said the project will require the county, the City of Minot, and the state to work together. When the plan is complete, Larsen said the county will be looking at applying for grants to build the project.
The county is working on getting the letter of support, that the commissioners approved Tuesday for the chairman to sign, signed by the governor’s office, U.S. Senator John Hoeven, the Minot Air Force Base, Trinity Hospital, first responders, the Department of Transportation, and the Minot Area Chamber EDC.