Project Spotlight: North Dakota Hwy 23 Roadway Improvements

By Contech Engineered Solutions 

Situated right in the heart of the Bakken oil boom in North Dakota, Watford City’s population 1,400 in 2006 has rapidly risen to nearly 3,000 according to the latest census. As part of this rapid growth, the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) has gone to great lengths to accommodate the increase in traffic by undergoing several road improvements and expansion projects to handle the increased traffic of rigs, semis and large haul trucks now surging through the small town as part of this unexpected industrialization. As part of this effort, the NDDOT developed the Watford City Future Land Use Plan which incorporated a Long Range Transportation Plan making it one of the city’s biggest and newest roadway projects and would be built along ND Highway 23 from 6th Street to the ND Highway 23 Bypass. It would include new bypasses, expanded roadways and general roadway improvements to enhance traffic movement.

A state letting was issued, and the winning bid went to Knife River Corporation. While traffic detours and road construction was inevitable, Knife River had to meet an accelerated construction schedule and have Phase 1 completed by November 2015.  This construction phase also included a storm drain system. They looked to a highway drainage solution that could be quickly manufactured and installed along the main ND Highway 23 Bypass. Given the remote location and limited access to local manufacturing facilities in the surrounding areas, a mobile CSP manufacturing solution seemed the best route to completing the storm drain system in the timeframe required.  Additionally, the elimination of over 75 truckloads of pipe from the highway and the need for a dedicated operator onsite to unload the pipe was an attractive alternative.  They elected to proceed with a mobile pipe mill option to manufacture a polymer-coated spiral rib storm drain system and approach pipe onsite.

Working closely with a Contech representatives to identify the ideal pipe material and diameters needed was easy. A mobile mill can manufacture to the same exacting standards and quality of any of the mills located across the country. This flexibility allowed the production of diameters ranging from 15 to 60 inches and included a polymer-coated spiral rib pipe section with rerolled ends to accommodate the necessary joint tightness required in that area.


With over 14,680 LF (sections varying from 4,594 LF of 15-in diameter to 5,162 LF in 42-in diameter and 263 LF in 60-in), the mobile mill offered the perfect flexibility for the variety of pipe diameters needed to complete the job. As part of the project plan, the NDDOT also required that rerolled pipe ends be used. The mobile pipe mill reroll feature was a critical component making this a viable solution.