DOT right to re-examine intersection

Despite statistics falling short of demonstrating its menace, an intersection at which a young Minot Air Force Base man died last month, and which others have long claimed is dangerous, is worthy of re-examination by the Department of Transportation.

That’s exactly what is going to happen with the intersection of U.S. Highway 83 and Ward County Road 8.

On Feb. 15 a 21-year-old Minot Air Force Base man, William Buchanan, collided with a Kenworth tractor-trailer near Ruthville. Buchanan was southbound from Minot AFB to Minot when his 1996 Toyota Corolla slid underneath the westbound semi-trailer driven by Dennis Surprenant, Minot. Buchanan died two days later in a Minot hospital as a result of his injuries. According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, Surprenant failed to yield at the intersection.

The intersection is marked by overhead lights, but some area residents feel the lights are insufficient, either in terms of positioning or brightness. Some others assert the intersection was dangerous before there were overhead lights. Still others believe the high posted speed limit – 70 mph – makes for dangerous merging off of County Road 8 onto U.S. 83.

There may be one or more means by which to make the intersection safer, and the DOT is looking at holding a public forum for residents to express their thoughts.

Given its proximity to the base and the traffic going back and forth between the base and Minot, complete with many people unfamiliar with local routes, it only makes solid sense to invest some time and effort in making sure this intersection is as safe as possible.