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Looking east along Highway 200/85 in McKenzie County west of Watford City, North Dakota. (Photo: Tim Evanson via Flickr)

State officials reviewing safety on US Highway 85

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s Transportation Department and Highway Patrol say efforts are being made to increase safety on the major north-south artery in the western oil patch.

There have been 25 traffic crash fatalities on the U.S. Highway 85 corridor in the past two years. The Department of Transportation this month launched a safety review that officials say will continue into January and February.

The review will include an evaluation of the portion of the highway between Williston and Watford City, which officials are spending about $300 million on to make it four lanes. The review will be done by a team of local law enforcement officials and local, state and federal highway officials.

“The recently constructed portions of the US 85 corridor were designed to meet all federal safety requirements,” Transportation Director Grant Levi said. “Unfortunately, crashes and fatalities continue to occur.”

The state also is installing roadway lights at several U.S. 85 and state Highway 23 intersections in the Watford City area, and the Highway Patrol has boosted patrols on the highway this year. The increased enforcement will continue over the coming weeks, said Col. Michael Gerhart Jr., the agency’s superintendent.

Gerhart also encouraged cooperation from drivers.

“Our greatest partner in traffic safety is the motoring public, and together we can make a positive difference,” he said.

In related news, Transportation Department reviews ND highway.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.