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Hillsboro: Don't narrow Highway 200

Residents of Hillsboro, N.D., will pay extra to keep state Highway 200 as wide as it is today. The Hillsboro City Commission voted 3-2 on Monday night to recommend a $3 million Highway 200 road construction project to the North Dakota Department ...

Residents of Hillsboro, N.D., will pay extra to keep state Highway 200 as wide as it is today.

The Hillsboro City Commission voted 3-2 on Monday night to recommend a $3 million Highway 200 road construction project to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

But whether the highway the major north-south artery through town and parallel to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks stays at 56 feet wide or is narrowed to 44 feet, ultimately is up to the state agency.

NDDOT has the project scheduled for the 2008 construction season. The agency is considering four options:

-- Rebuild the road to the full 56-foot street width and existing alignment.

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-- Rebuild and narrow it from 56 to 44 feet, with the existing alignment (each parking lane reduced from 16 feet wide to 10 feet wide).

-- Narrow the street from 56 to 44 feet, with the exception of one block north and one block south of the Caledonia Avenue intersection, keeping the existing alignment.

-- Narrow the street from 56 to 44 feet and shift the alignment 6 feet to the west, reducing the parking lane width from 16 feet to 10 feet.

The proposed project will receive $1.8 million in federal funding, plus $200,000 from the state.

The city's share of the project has been estimated between $360,000 and $510,000 for the asphalt option or $720,000 to $1 million for concrete, depending on the design.

Based on Monday's decision, Hillsboro's share would be about $1 million, if NDDOT goes with the recommended plan paving with concrete, rather than asphalt, according to city auditor Leslie Connelly. The city's portion would be financed through special assessments.

About 30 people attending a public hearing on the project last month strongly supported the plan recommended this week by the City Commission.

One of the speakers, Darrell Miller, manager of the nearby Taft Elevator, said as many as 100 semi trucks per day pass through Hillsboro to haul malting barley to the elevator.

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The project also has the support of the Hillsboro Business Association, which also is lobbying to keep a four-way stop at the intersection of Highway 200 and Caledonia Avenue, the main east-west street through the Traill County seat.

Voting in favor of the project were Commission President Kevin Burg and commissioners Jeff Nelson and Lorraine Tibert. Voting against were Kyle Stern and Mike Lessard.

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