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Neche's U.S.-Canadian border crossing likely closed until at least May 8

The U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Neche, N.D., likely will be closed until at least May 8, until construction crews can make emergency repairs to a 160-foot-long section of N.D. Highway 18 that has washed out between Neche and the border.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation will open bids Friday morning for the emergency repair project.

"By Saturday, Sunday or Monday, I hope there's a contractor up in Neche," said Les Noehr, NDDOT Grand Forks District engineer.

The contracts will require contractors to have the road reopened by May 8, and to complete the emergency repairs by May 15, according to Noehr.

The border crossing has been closed since April 17.

The wash-out occurred about 300 feet south of the Canadian border, just north of Neche.

"The vast majority of it isn't washed out all the way across," Noehr said. "I'd say that more than half of the road is missing."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is directing commercial and passenger vehicle travelers to use either the Pembina, N.D., or Walhalla, N.D., ports of entry as alternate travel routes.

Highway 18 remains open south of Neche, providing access to the community from the south. That portion of the road also was under water earlier this month during the height of the flood along the Pembina River, which runs past Neche.

"There's pretty good damage, but we didn't lose any of the road," Noehr said of Highway 18 south of Neche.

Elsewhere in northeastern North Dakota, NDDOT already has made some emergency repairs to N.D. Highway 54, between I-29 and the Red River border town of Oslo, Minn. The road remains open to local traffic.

"We were able to get in there and get some riprap on the road. That was an in-the-heat-of-the-battle repair," Noehr said, to place boulders, or riprap, along the road slopes to prevent water from splashing onto the road and causing washouts.

Two other state highways north of Grand Forks remain closed between I-29 and the Red River. They are N.D. Highway 5 at Joliette, N.D., and N.D. Highway 66 at Drayton, N.D.

Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to kbonham@gfherald.com.

Kevin Bonham

Kevin Bonham covers regional news, mostly from northeast North Dakota, for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for more than 30 years. Find his articles at: www.grandforksherald.com. He welcomes story ideas via email, kbonham@gfherald.com, or by phone, (701) 780-1110.  

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