One of the biggest concerns for a highly rural area like Cavalier County is having the roads to connect us to the world at large. With a population under 4,000 people covering just about 966,400 acres with 95 percent being agricultural, having good roads is a must.
“I believe that the county roads are very important to the economy of the area, especially the farm economy to transport goods and to get their grain to market,” Cavalier County Road Supervisor Terry Johnston said.
Within Cavalier County there are 349 miles of county roads that the Cavalier County Commission, Johnston, and their road men care for and maintain. The vast majority of the miles are gravel accounting for 285, while paved roads add the other 64 miles to the total.
“Our annual budget for Farm to Market is $652,485.31, Road and Bridge budget is $1,405,819.45,” Johnnston shared.
Those funds make the repairs and maintenance to roads possible. Part of this is also hedging bets against weather which has been more difficult of late as normally dry times are suddenly soaking wet leading to problems that cannot be ignored and require unplanned spending.
“The spring thaw was very hard on our roads this year. We had a lot of frost boils develop this year, I believe, because of the excess moisture from the early snow storm that then melted and froze up wet,” Johnston explained.
The county has been working on roads this summer, specifically some of the more traveled roads that interconnect our communities. This year, County Road #33 from ND Hwy. #5 to ND Hwy. #66 is being graveled solid at a rate of 1200 cubic yards per mile. County Road #6 is also being graveled solid at a rate of 1200 cubic yards per mile going 6 miles west of Hannah.
“We are doing some soft spot repair on County Road # 13 and County Road #24,” Johnston said. “We have done some geotechnical work on county road #55 through the Pembina Gorge to determine the stability of the road way for future road improvement projects.”
Of the work being done this summer, the gravel project on #33, the soft spot repair on #13 and #24, and the geotechnical work on #55 in the Pembina Gorge are projects that are not part of the county’s routine maintenance schedule. Voters may recall that in 2016, the county asked that an excess levy for roads be continued, which the residents of the county supported. Now those funds are being put to work.
“The excess levy is being used for the gravel project on County Road #33, the work on County Road #55 in the Pembina Gorge and the gravel project on County Road #6 west of Hannah,” Johnston stated.
Those projects that use the excess levy funds will continue, and the county will be sure to maintain the roads as best to their ability as the county residents head into harvest season.