The SW & SE Connector Corridor Study in Ward County, North Dakota has received a 2023 American Council of Engineering Companies of North Dakota Engineering Excellence Award in the Studies, Research, and Consulting Engineering Services category. The project team was recognized at the organization’s spring conference on Tuesday, May 9. The Engineering Excellence Awards recognize engineering firms for projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value. Submitted projects are scored on uniqueness and/or innovative application of new or existing techniques; future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public; social, economic, and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs, including schedule and budget.
The Ward County SW and SE Connector Corridor Study (Connector Corridor) was initiated by Ward County to lay the foundation for future roadway connections south of Minot, North Dakota. Continued population growth along with sustained energy, agricultural, and commercial freight demands in the region have challenged the regional roadway system for decades. This area is experiencing large private investments like the new Trinity Health hospital and priority transportation routes for Minot Air Force Base missile operations. Southern connections provide alternative routes to alleviate congestion in the urban core including US 2/52 and US 83. With a project area of more than 45 square miles, the Ward County Connector Corridor Study impacted many stakeholders and required large-scale, detailed analyses to understand demand and measure alternative viability. The planning effort required more than 50 combined alternatives to be analyzed across an area with challenging terrain, wetlands, rural neighborhoods, and even a historic bridge.
To accomplish this plan, the project team developed a tailored project approach that used cutting-edge technologies, wrangled big data, and implemented in-person and virtual engagement techniques. The results of the study were transformative. The package of improvements started with a Connector Corridor along County Roads 17 and 16 that connected US 2 with US 83 and US 52. In addition to the Ward County Connector Corridor, the plan included a connection from US 2 to the new Trinity Health hospital. This plan included a new roadway connection and interchange to West Burdick Expressway, the highest crash intersection in the entire region. The final product was seamed together with a Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) compliant report to expedite project delivery with realistic and detailed funding steps to achieve the vision.
Learn more about Ward County and the City of Minot’s recognition from ACEC North Dakota, here!