Feedback
Business
photo

Highway to Riches: Oil Boom Transforms Prairies of North Dakota

Heavy machinery plows through farmland for the construction of the U.S. Route 85 bypass around Watford City, N.D., June 12, 2014. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

President Theodore Roosevelt once came to North Dakota's Badlands to find solitude and solace amid the area's "desolate, grim beauty." But Roosevelt's Dakota is barely visible today.

The area's oil boom has resulted in an infrastructure-building frenzy as the rush for jobs and oil demands more roads, homes, food trucks and stores. The epicenter is a 45-mile stretch of U.S. Route 85 between the towns of Williston and Watford City. Once a sleepy two-lane road across the lonely prairie, it's being transformed into a four-lane highway with bypasses cutting around towns. In the spring and summer, oil patch roadwork slows traffic to a trickle akin to a major metropolis' rush hour.

Image:
A traffic accident adds to the expansion problems of U.S. Route 85 between Williston and Watford City, N.D., June 9, 2014. The road is being transformed into a four-lane highway with bypasses cutting around towns. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

— The Associated Press