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Associated Press , Published February 04 2013

Dalrymple signs $720 million road improvement bill into law

BISMARCK – Highway construction will begin earlier than normal in North Dakota after Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed a bill Monday to appropriate $720 million for statewide highway and road improvement projects.

Sponsored by Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, Senate Bill 2176 was “fast-tracked” through the legislative process to allow the construction season to begin earlier and get a jump on the state’s unpredictable weather.

The bill appropriates $620 million for major highway projects, predominantly in oil-producing counties, and $100 million will be for cities, counties and township needs in non-oil-producing counties.

Grant Levi, interim executive director for the North Dakota Department of Transportation, said the department has seen a 50 percent increase in traffic over the past year throughout western North Dakota and a 20 percent increase statewide.