N.D. Highway 22 crumbles with the BadlandsHighway 22 remains closed as landslides and slumping from moisture in the Badlands continues obstructing roads, breaking pavement and making travel dangerous across the region.
By: Lisa Miller, The Dickinson Press
KILLDEER — Highway 22 remains closed as landslides and slumping from moisture in the Badlands continues obstructing roads, breaking pavement and making travel dangerous across the region.
“I am just amazed at the damage we are seeing here,” Killdeer City Commissioner Anita Mjolhus said of cracks in the asphalt on Highway 22.
Officials closed the road last week due to safety concerns. The North Dakota Department of Transportation took Mjolhus and other Killdeer residents on a tour of the highway about 20 miles north of town Thursday and held a press conference in Killdeer.
Construction of temporary bypasses on sections of Highway 22 and several other southwest North Dakota highways is set to begin next week if weather is compliant.
“People have been wondering why they closed the roads but one look at this and a person would know right away,” Killdeer City Auditor Dawn Marquardt said. “Wow!”
“The DOT sent out a team with national and state experience in landslides to do an on-site evaluation of the sections of roads closed due to damage,” DOT Dickinson District Engineer Larry Gangl said. “We are now working on a temporary fix — the bypasses — to allow traffic, and will follow up with permanent repair.”
Gangl said rain, weather and road conditions will be key in meeting repair goals.
“You just don’t know what it will do, or how long this climate pattern will last,” Gangl said. “By all of our assessments and calculations we think it (the repairs) will work, but Mother Nature has more of a say in it than we do.”
Gangl said the NDDOT has been dealing with curious people wanting to get a better look at the damage but added it is unsafe and illegal to go around barricades.
“Motorists found breaking the law will be fined,” he said.
Construction finish dates for the temporary and permanent repairs on the roads differ because of the significance of the damage and prior maintenance and construction plans.
In one case, an entire hill needs to be removed before the temporary bypass on the section of Highway 22 north of Killdeer that needs repair can be constructed.
“Some of these areas are still moving on us,” Gangl said. “We need some sun and wind to dry it out. Stability is a must.”
The Dickinson Press and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.