North Dakota Highway 23 Major Rehabilitation

New Town to Ward County Line, North Dakota

SRF recently designed the rehabilitation of the 28.5-mile corridor on ND Highway 23 from New Town east to the Ward County Line. The highway system is being upgraded to accommodate higher levels of truck traffic due to the oil industry and related spin-off development in the western part of the state. ND Highway 23 is a two-lane rural highway with little or no passing area due to limited sight distances and rolling terrain that results in higher than typical crash rates.

During the preliminary design phase, environmental documentation was prepared for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. SRF developed a Project Concept Report (PCR) for review and approval by NDDOT staff and received a Categorical Exclusion from the Federal Highway Administration. The PCR defined a project purpose and need, described no-build and build alternatives, and evaluated potential environmental impacts for all alternatives considered.

Additionally, SRF completed a Traffic Operations Analysis for the corridor that was used to inform design decisions and identify environmental impacts. As traffic counts showed more than 7,000 vehicles per day with up to 20% truck traffic, we applied a Super Two strategy to the corridor, which included adding passing lanes in each direction with three- to five-mile spacing.

SRF also worked with project partners to develop a Wetland Delineation and Class III Cultural Resource Inventory to inform the environmental analysis. Following the completion of the PCR and receipt of the Categorical Exclusion, SRF completed an application for a Section 404 permit and Farmland Conversion Impact Rating for the project.

Hydrologic and hydraulic analysis was conducted on approximately 100 culvert crossings and six major creek/river crossings, including developing both bridge and culvert alternatives for the major crossings. NDDOT reporting standards were used to streamline the analysis and provide recommendations for extension or replacement based on vertical location and capacity.

Subsequently, we completed the final design, which included right-of-way plats and acquisitions, borrow area negotiations and geotechnical analysis, utility impacts and coordination, and the preparation of the final plans and contract documents.
The rehabilitation includes the addition of eight-foot shoulders, turning lanes at key intersections, Highway Patrol Turnout Areas, and railroad stopping lanes. Surfacing for the project includes a concrete overlay from New Town to ND Highway 8 and a mine and blend with an asphalt surfacing from ND Highway 8 to the Ward County Line. In addition, we designed the reconstruction/extension of two bridges, three box culverts, and one structural steel plate pipe.

SRF completed the project on a compressed design schedule for the $56 million project. SRF was selected by NDDOT to provide the construction administration, construction staking, inspection, materials testing, and project close-out.