MINOT, N.D. (AP)
A group leading the effort for a four-lane U.S. 2 in northwestern North Dakota is extending its push into Montana, its president says. “We’re working with the parties in Montana to see if we can cooperate on extending the fourlane toward Culbertson, Mont., as of the first leg of their investment,” said Brad Bekkedahl, president of the group called Communities for a Modern Highway 2. Work is under way to finish a 100-mile four-lane stretch of U.S. 2 from Minot to Williston by 2008. The project, which would allow four lanes between Williston and Grand Forks, will cost about $100 million in federal and state funding. “There’s 12 miles in North Dakota still to be done from west of Williston to the border and then approximately 25 miles inside Montana past Bainville and over to Culbertson,” Bekkedahl said. “The governor (John Hoeven) has publicly stated that he would support finishing four-laning the last 12 miles in North Dakota if Montana would agree to fourlane from the Montana border into Montana,” Bekkedahl said. A corridor plan stretching from Mexico to Canada also could be part of the future, Bekkedahl said. “The improvements continue from Rapid City (in South Dakota) all the way to the Mexican border,” he said. “Every state along the corridor South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico all have projects going right now to improve the corridor.” State Transportation Director Francis Ziegler said his department is working on a study for a segment of what’s known as Great Plains International Trade Corridor. Bekkedahl said that could include plans for a better connection between U.S. 2 and Interstate 94 via U.S. Highway 85 in North Dakota. Bekkedahl said his group also wants to promote U.S. 2. “I think the next step for us is going to be get all the membership of the U.S. 2 association together once the highway is paved in the year 2008, and start looking at some possible marketing efforts for the highway,” he said.