Hoeven Presses Corps to Expedite Permits for Highway 85 Four-Lane Project in Lake Sakakawea Region

Also Pushes to Advance Flood Control Projects on Knife and James Rivers

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week pressed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the permitting process for the Highway 85 four-lane project in the Lake Sakakawea area and to issue temporary or conditional permits now so that work can get underway this construction season. The Corps must approve both a Section 404 permit to allow dredging, as well as a construction permit. Hoeven met with Colonel Joel Cross, Army Corps Commander for the Omaha District, to make the case.

“We have a short construction season in North Dakota, so we’re working with the Corps to get temporary or conditional permits so that we can take advantage of good weather and move forward this year with the four lane project on Highway 85 near Lake Sakakawea,” said Hoeven. “We asked Colonel Cross to expedite the process and I am pleased that he is taking steps to see that it happens. This project is important infrastructure in the Bakken and will help to relieve congestion in western North Dakota. We appreciate the Corps’ help in accelerating the schedule for this project.”

The Omaha District received environmental assessment documentation on April 1, and it usually takes between 60 and 90 days to review this data and issue a construction permit. Cross said that he is seeking to expedite the review of the required environmental assessment package and, if possible, issue a temporary construction permit to allow the project to start during the current construction season. The bridge project is part of a major effort to accommodate increased highway traffic in the Bakken region.

Hoeven has also been working to advance flood protection in the Beulah-Hazen area on the Knife River and for LaMoure on the James River. The Corps has agreed to advance both of these projects under their Continuing Authorities Program (CAP), which will enable them to study, design and construct the flood protection projects on an expedited basis. The senator worked to get initial funding in the 2015 budget for both the Knife River and James River projects, and he will continue to work on the Energy and Water Appropriations Committee to secure the nearly $2 million necessary to complete the projects.

Hoeven has also worked with the Air Force and the Corps of Engineers to maintain aerial spraying operations for mosquitos in the Williston area for the last several years. Cross confirmed that the Corps of Engineers has transferred funds to the Air Force to support spraying this season.