Cutting a hill down to size
ABOVE: Site supervisor Mike Schlichting, left, and Larry Miller talk about moving the scrapers and dozers off the job site, now that the slide on Highway 22 is fi nally repaired and open. LEFT: Fresh oil applied along the Highway 22 road shoulder gleams in the morning sun Nov. 11. The road reopened Nov. 9 after being closed because of landslides since late May.
By LAUREN DONOVAN Bismarck Tribune
of Mike Schlichting’s pickup looks like a home offi ce,
desk and a few other amenities. Since August, he has been the
KILLDEER — The back seat minus the
site, engineers quit playing nice with the terrain and cut it down to size, instead. Nearly 560,000 cubic yards of dirt
were moved with nine scrapers and two bulldozers cutting as much as 80 feet off the vertical to get to a level stable roadbed.
There’re a lot of happy people. I think we did all right
– On-site supervisor of the state Highway 22 reconstruction effort Mike Schlichting
around the side of a massive clay butte was not working, so the engi- neers lopped the butte off,
Essentially wrapping the road
All that fi ll was disposed of in a ravine deep below and beside the slide repair.
on-site supervisor for the massive, nearly $3 million reconstruction of a piece of state Highway 22, which suf- fered two separate landslides this year. On their second attempt to fi x the
a bad comparison at all given the sculpted compaction,
“We built Hoover Dam down Schlichting quipped — not
no water coming through that ravine. The scope of the dirt disposal and the job itself are things of marvel. Up on the highway, a fresh squirt of oil on the roadway shoulder gleamed in the morning sunlight. Cars and trucks zoomed through, drivers who could fi - nally use the reconstructed road to get north of Killdeer, deeper into oil country, home to the ranch, over to New Town or wherever else they were destined. The highway had been closed since
late May, when soils saturated to the breaking point by heavy snow and spring rain started sloughing down- hill throughout the Badlands geology. And just when a detour around the slide was about to be opened, the whole works slid one more time, re- quiring another round of bidding for the large-scale reconstruction. Martin Construction of Dickinson
got to work in mid-August. Workers put in six 12-hour days a week to get the job done, coming in nearly two months earlier than the State Department of Transportation hoped would happen. The dry late summer and fall helped “immensely,”
spit out here, and it’s slick as snot.” The road offi cially reopened Nov. though people started sneak-
ing through the day before once the signs started going down.
Schlichting said. “You except there’s
Schlichting said it was a good job and a tough one, tricky with all the terrain, but not necessarily dangerous. “It’s done sliding here be-
cause we put it all (the road) in cuts,”
rather than onto a he said.
up where the new reconstruction ends and cut through another mas- sive clay butte on the way down to the Little Missouri River bottom. But that’s
next season’s headache. “There’re a lot of happy people,”
at 220-5511 or email@example.com
.) Donovan next year and
Schlichting said, nodding to the traf- fi c moving by. “I think we did all right.” (Reach reporter Lauren
Next year, the DOT plans to pick
TOP: Asphalt on the old section of Highway 22 shows the severe buckling that occurred in the landslide action earlier this year. BOTTOM: This photo shows a visible piece of old Highway 22 (going in from the right) where it meets the newly aligned and reconstructed highway.
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