MADC meets with Governor to help lead coalition to four lane HWY 52

Posted: Mar 01 2017
The Minot Area Development Corporation (MADC) was asked to help lead a coalition to four lane US Highway 52 (HWY 52) from the Canadian border at Portal to Jamestown. MADC has joined several other communities to support this coalition, which if successful, will alleviate traffic congestion, increase motorist safety, and improve commerce within the state and internationally. MADC met with Governor Burgum on March 3rd to express the importance of four laning HWY 52.

MADC Chair, Jim Montgomery explains, “We had a great meeting with Gov. Doug Burgum and Ron Rauschenberger, senior advisor. Rauschenberger, who’s from Kenmare, was very familiar with the importance of four laning HWY 52, he even shared insights on how HWY 2 was 4 laned. Our group discussed how HWY 52 joins together the vast majority of agriculture plants across the state, including ethanol, potato, soybean, sunflower, and other key plants that are significant to the state of North Dakota. With Canada four laning their highway, it only makes sense to have four lane traffic entering on a four laned HWY 52. As far as the next steps for the coalition, we will see what happens with legislature in the next few weeks and hopefully we can begin to lay out a plan to four lane Highway 52. We appreciated the opportunity to meet with the new Governor and were very pleased with the conversations that took place during our meeting.”

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In 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper first announced the "twinning" of Provincial Highway 39, he stated the federal government would help the province of Saskatchewan build the continuation. In 2016, the Saskatchewan Premier Brad Hall publicized the twinning of Provincial Highway 39 from the international border to Regina, the project began construction and will be completed in multiple phases over a course of several years; emphasizing the importance for North Dakota to continue the process on HWY 52. Commerce between Saskatchewan and North Dakota continues to increase as Portal is the second busiest port of entry in the state. Once Provincial Highway 39 is completed, traffic is expected to increase even more. The completion of the new port of entry at Portal has dramatically increased both commercial and non-commercial traffic, which is a critical factor to why HWY 52 should be four laned.
 
HWY 52 is a favorable route from Fairbanks, AK to Fargo, ND because of the diagonal course, saving time and fuel for many businesses. According to Statistics Canada, 38% of North Dakota’s agriculture exports are destined for Canada. Even with the slowdown in the oil industry, the amount of traffic on HWY 52 from Velva to Jamestown accounts for 29% of the average daily vehicle count. A prime example is the ADM Plant near Velva, which receives 18,000-20,000 semi-trucks per year. Normal truck traffic on two lane highways average 10%.  
 
The coalition realizes that four laning HWY 52 will need to be completed in stages as the magnitude of this project is vast, costly and time sensitive. Although this project will take multi-year planning, the benefits of this project including safety, increased business commerce, and decreased traffic congestion are crucial for the development of our state. MADC encourages all communities along HWY 52 to join the coalition and help this long-term vision become reality.