ACEC/ND recently announced their 2016 Engineering Excellence Award winners, and the Williston US Highway 2 and 18th Street West Underpass was selected for the transportation category. Working with the NDDOT, City of Williston, and other project partners, SRF designed a project that increases safety and improves travel times for travelers. Details on the project are provided below…
Oil-related activities in Western North Dakota have caused major increases in traffic on the US Highway 2/85 corridor. The rapid increase in traffic along the highway posed safety concerns for vehicular and pedestrian movements throughout the City of Williston. In 2008, when the impacts of the oil industry were first experienced by the City, the development of a Comprehensive Plan, Transportation Plan, and US Highway 2/85 Corridor Study was initiated. As part of the corridor study for the City of Williston, Williams County, and NDDOT, SRF analyzed existing and future traffic conditions between 2nd Street West and 26th Street West. Based on data collection, future traffic projections, and significant public input, it was clear that a grade separation of a city street and US Highway 2/85 was needed to meet the demands of the increased highway traffic and accelerated community growth.
City and County officials reviewed multiple grade separation locations and agreed that the 18th Street West/Bison Drive connection was the best candidate for a US Highway 2 grade separation. In addition to vehicular crossings of the highway, residents were particularly concerned about the provision of a safe grade-separated pedestrian and bicycle crossing of the highway.
After the grade separation of US Highway 2 at 18th Street West was identified as a high-priority short-term improvement, NDDOT selected SRF to complete the environmental documentation, preliminary design, public engagement, final roadway and bridge design, plan preparation, specifications, cost estimate, and construction engineering for the grade separation.
A ribbon cutting ceremony on June 25, 2015, officially opened the project to the public. This innovative project resulted in the City’s first grade separation of US Highway 2/85 and a local city street. The grade separated roadway eliminates an existing at grade intersection and reduces the overall delay experienced for traffic traveling along US Highway 2/85, provides a safe crossing for motorists and pedestrians by means of the underpass, and connects the established east side to the newly and continued developed west side of Williston.