Hoeven Announces Federal Approvals for New Four-Lane Bridge on US-85

State Receives Half a Billion Dollars a Biennium in Federal Funding for Highways, Bridges, Other Transportation Infrastructure Projects

WILLISTON, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today visited the future site of the new U.S. Highway 85 Lewis and Clark Bridge project, which is now cleared for construction following the senator’s work to secure the necessary approvals from multiple agencies. The plan is to replace the existing two-lane bridge over the Missouri River southwest of Williston with a new four-lane bridge. The project also includes building a wildlife underpass.

“The Lewis and Clark Bridge project is an essential and necessary part of four-laning U.S.-85,” Hoeven said. “It will help to relieve traffic and congestion and ensure that travel is not only more efficient, but most importantly that it is safer for travelers.”

The new bridge project required environmental and biological assessments from federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. To ensure the project would proceed in a timely manner, Hoeven pressed the federal agencies for prompt approval of the federal permits required for the highway expansion project, including:

  • An Army Corps of Engineers’ National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permit
  • A U.S. Coast Guard permit for constructing the new four-lane bridge over the Missouri River
  • The Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the real estate package for the bridge project

Hoeven also reviewed progress on the permanent Williston bypass, reconstruction of the intersection of U.S. Highways 2 and 85 and the expansion of US-85 from two to four lanes between Williston and Watford City. He was joined for the event by North Dakota Department of Transportation officials and Todd Lindquist, Operations Project Manager of the Garrison Project Office for the Corps.

North Dakota receives approximately $500 million dollars a biennium in federal highway funding. In July, Hoeven voted to extend the current highway transportation bill through May 31, 2015 to ensure that states like North Dakota can continue to complete construction projects already underway. The senator is continuing to push for a long-term highway bill, preferably a five or six-year bill to give states the certainty they need to plan for the future.