Western ND agencies begins movement to clean up Highway 85

By BRYCE MARTIN | ND Group Editor

Newly surfaced road through red rock country

Several agencies in North Dakota are capturing on the downturn in oil, all in the name of keeping western North Dakota clean.

Since the impact from the Bakken Oil boom began, Highway 85 became a hotbed of truck and semi traffic. With the huge increase in traffic unfortunately also came an influx in littering.

Cal Klewin, executive director of the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Association, has been working to get multiple agencies and groups together for a Highway 85 beautification project that would focus on cleaning the often-neglected dominant roadway.

The agencies plan to hold the cleanup week from April 25 through April 30.

“It’s a mess between Watford City and Williston,” said Lyn James, president of the Bowman City Commission.

That area was its original target, but with the aid of several southwestern North Dakota agencies and organizations, the cleanup project was extended to encompass the highway as it travels to the South Dakota border.

The project is in cooperation with the North Dakota Dept. of Transportation.

The NDDOT will provide the garbage bags then will pick up the filled bags from the sides of the highway.

Understandably, with the road stretching nearly 250 miles, it is quite a task.

Klewin is also searching for large groups and private citizens to help.

So far the project has attracted interest from the city of Bowman, Bowman County, the cities of Williston, Belfield, Watford City and organizations such as the North Dakota Petroleum Council, N.D. League of Cities, North Dakota Motor Carriers, N.D. Retailers, N.D. Association of General Contractors, Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties, North Dakota Tourism, McKenzie County Tourism and western North Dakota Lions Clubs, among others.

The highway was traditionally cleaned by organizations that opted to each take one mile. That has seemed to be less frequent in the last few years.

In North Dakota it is against the law to litter and if caught a person could face a minimum fine of $100.

If litter amounts to more than one cubic foot in volume or consisted of furniture or a major appliance, the offense is a class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days imprisonment, a fine of $1,500, or both.

Those interested in volunteering for the cleanup week should contact Cal Klewin at 701-523-6171 or by email at cal@trexpressway.com.