Safety was the priority for county commissioners as they detailed a plan last week to update the existing Buffalo Springs road west of Scranton.
A plan was outlined March 3 to several landowners with property abutting 137th Avenue during the Bowman County Board of Commissioners regular meeting.
Commission President Rick Braaten said the plan consists of regrading a portion of the road that winds north about six miles from its intersection with Highway 12. The plan also called for widening of the road and raising its height in spots where water frequently runs over.
“Safety is the biggest concern for doing the project,” Braaten said.
Braaten indicated that safety concerns existed regarding the road being too narrow for increased truck traffic, larger farm machinery driving on the road and the low areas that collect water.
The projected cost of the road project is about $1.8 million, according to Braaten, and that would be paid for using oil and gas production tax money the county receives from the state.
Bowman County Highway Superintendent Neil Hofland, Bowman County Road Foreman Nathan Miller, and Gary Brennan, from Brosz Engineering, met with landowners that would be involved with the 137th Avenue project. They were invited to voice any concerns or issues they had with the project.
One concern was raised regarding the speed limit increase at certain points in the road.
When a driver turns north onto 137th Avenue from Highway 12, they encounter a posted 50 mph speed limit. About a mile north on the road, there is a posted 25 mph speed limit. That is the only reduced speed limit sign on that portion of the road.
Discussion was held about adding “reduced speed ahead” signs and creating a greater distance where the reduced speed area would be, according to Braaten. The current speed limit would remain the same on the remainder of the road.
There was related discussion on a past county road project to the north, where that road connected to 137th Avenue.
Landowners there were very appreciative with the improvements to that section of road and thanked the commissioners for that, Braaten said.
The plan is to bid the project this spring pending all landowner easements are signed and received. Then work would be completed this summer.