US 2 is a US Highway in the US state of North Dakota. The road forms a long east-west route through the north of the state, paralleling about 100 kilometers from the border with Canada. The route connects a number of larger towns such as Williston, Minot and Grand Forks. The route is 578 kilometers long, 370 kilometers of which have been extended with 2×2 lanes.
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The US 2 at Devil’s Lake.
The 2×2 US 2 at Devils Lake.
West of Williston, US 2 crosses the border into North Dakota in Montana from Wolf Point. This area is flat and consists of a mix of prairies and meadows. After about 25 kilometers the US 85 merges from Belle Fourche and starts a double numbering of 30 kilometers past Williston. This section is expanded with 2×2 lanes, Williston is by far the largest city in western North Dakota and a major center of the oil industry. The road turns north here away from the Missouri River and about 20 miles north of Williston, US 2 turns east and continues US 85 to Foruna on the border with Canada. US 2 is then single-lane and begins a 180-kilometer route to Minot, the next larger town. This area consists of endless prairies and meadows with virtually no forest. Height differences only exist in the form of shallow river beds. Just before Minot, the US 52 merges from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, after which a double numbering of about 20 kilometers begins to Minot. This part also has 2×2 lanes, from here the rest of the route has been performed with 4 lanes. One comes here through the valley of the Mouse River.
Minot is by North Dakota standards a large city with 35,000 inhabitants. This is where the US 83 crosses grade separated. US 83 comes from the capital Bismarck, 170 kilometers south and runs to the border with Canada in a sparsely populated area. On the east side of Minot, US 52. strikesheading for Jamestown in the southeast, 275 kilometers further. East of Minot, US 2 is a 2×2 main road with emergency lanes, but with at-grade intersections due to the insignificance of most connections and the quiet traffic. The next larger town is Grand Forks and is located 340 kilometers to the east. One passes again through prairies with a few river valleys, and now and then one crosses some side roads. The larger towns on the route to Grand Forks are Rugby and Devils Lake, but have fewer than 5,000 inhabitants and are little more than villages. There are regular lakes along the road, but there are no forests here yet. In Churchs Ferry you cross the US 281. After the large village of Devils Lake, another 140 kilometers follows to Grand Forks, the second city of. with more than 50,000 inhabitantsNorth Dakota. In Grand Forks it connects with Interstate 29. It then passes through Grand Forks and follows the Minnesota border. The US 2 in Minnesota then continues to Bemidji and Duluth.
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US 2 was created in 1926. Other than a minor tweak in Minot, the US 2 in South Dakota hasn’t changed significantly. A bypass was built in Minot, over which US 2 was routed. The old route through Minot is now a business route.
The US 2 was later upgraded to a 2×2 divided highway. The first impetus for this already started in the 1960s. The first section to be doubled to a four-lane road was the eastern section between Minot and Grand Forks, which was almost completely four-lane by the 1980s. The last part of this piece was doubled in 1996. The section between Williston and Minot was widened to 4 lanes significantly later, namely after 2005. The largest part was only doubled to 4 lanes between 2010 and 2012. Only the westernmost 10 kilometers west of Williston has not been widened to 4 lanes.
With the massive increase in oil production in the Bakken Formation in northwestern North Dakota, traffic in this region has greatly increased, with traffic in the Williston region doubling between 2006 and 2013. Growth was more limited east of Minot.
3,000 vehicles drive daily on the Montana border, then rapidly increasing to a maximum of 30,000 vehicles in Williston. The route from Williston to Minot handles 7,500 to 10,000 vehicles per day, between Minot and Devil’s Lake 2,500 to 4,000 vehicles, and between Devil’s Lake and Grand Forks 3,500 to 6,500 vehicles, peaking at 12,000 vehicles at Grand Forks.