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Road plans; County planning projects for Spiritwood area

Road improvements needed to accommodate the industrial plants planned for Spiritwood Township may amount to a total of about $14 million, according to Casey Bradley, Stutsman County auditor/chief operating officer. The current plans have all the costs paid as special assessments by the industries building plants in the township.

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The road work is being planned in conjunction with CHS Inc. and Great River Energy, which will be the two principle owners of property within the special assessment districts.

CHS is planning construction of a $1.5 billion nitrogen fertilizer plant in Spiritwood Township. A final announcement on the project is anticipated in early 2014. GRE constructed a $350 million coal-fired generating plant in Spiritwood and plans to bring the plant online in late 2014. GRE is also starting construction on an ethanol plant at the location of its Spiritwood Station.

“When it is all said and done, it will all be county roads,” Bradley said. “It will add about two miles of new road and make improvements to about three miles.”

Plans call for 1 1/2 miles of County Road 62 north of the Interstate 94 to be widened and finished with a concrete surface. This part of the project may receive federal highway money as a special project related to economic development, Bradley said. Any matching money necessary, or any costs not covered by the federal funds, would be paid through special assessments by the companies involved.

A new road would then connect County Road 62 to the planned CHS nitrogen plant site on Section 24. New roads on the south and west sides of the section are also planned.

“The intention is for all but the (County Road) 62 improvements to go to bid in February with the completion in August,” Bradley said.

Developing specifications and bid information may take longer if federal highway aid funds are involved in the County Road 62 portion of the project.

Stutsman County has already improved County Road 40, more commonly known as Old Highway 10, between Jamestown and Spiritwood, according to Dave Schwartz, Stutsman County commissioner.

“Some of that cost was done with private donations,” Schwartz said. “The paving was completed in November, and we managed to get the striping done before the winter.”

The pavement of Old Highway 10 was ground into a rough gravel surface in 2010. The county removed the section between Jamestown and Spiritwood from the list of roads enrolled in the federal highway aid program. This allowed the road to be paved at a lower cost, Schwartz said.

“If it is part of the federal system it has to be done to federal standards,” he said.

The standards include the slope of the ditches and approaches and the amount of right-of-way land necessary for the project.

Schwartz said the 6 miles from Jamestown to Spiritwood was paved at a cost of about $1.9 million. The cost was defrayed by a $250,000 donation by GRE, $100,000 by Gayne Gasal, $45,000 by Cargill Malt, $5,000 from Kenny Fry and $30,000 from Spiritwood Township.

“I don’t know any other project done with such cooperation from businesses and residents,” Schwartz said.

The 2-mile segment of Old Highway 10 between Spiritwood and the Barnes County line is another issue, he said. Because the Barnes County segment of that road is enrolled in the federal highway aid program, Stutsman County cannot remove it from the program.

“Just a rough estimate is that section will cost between $2.5 million and $3 million,” Schwartz said.

He credited the higher costs to the more stringent federal standards and the amount of wetlands in the area.

Bradley said that segment of Old Highway 10 is not part of the road system that will be used by the industries building in Spiritwood Township.

“We’ll pave the mile that goes through Spiritwood in 2015,” he said. “But the 2 miles east to the county line are not in the county’s five-year plan for road projects.”

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at