We're certainly all for plans to build bypasses around cities in North Dakota to help detour heavy trucks that otherwise drive through the heart of the towns. But we're not sure we agree with Gov. Jack Dalrymple's comment that bypasses "are the single biggest thing we can do to relieve the impact on people."
There's no doubt the $10 million temporary bypass set to begin construction this summer in Williston, the $6 million bypass project in New Town and similar plans in Watford City, Killdeer, Alexander and Dickinson will provide much-needed relief for residents of those cities, as well as for the drivers of the hundreds of trucks rolling through those areas every day. Once the bypasses are built, life should be a little quieter and safer in those communities.
So, it's not that Dalrymple is wrong the projects will make a huge difference in the daily lives of residents in those cities. The bypasses will be good for the communities involved, but life won't change much for drivers on the area's highways.
There are other, equally important aspects of life in oil-impacted cities that bypasses won't address. Housing shortages and rising crime rates won't be affected one bit, for instance, and difficulties in finding employees for non-oil industry jobs won't get better, either. Those issues are being addressed in other ways.
The bypasses are good news for the truck-impacted communities. The projects should help deaden the roar of truck engines and make those cities safer, and that's a positive change.