North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced plans to detour heavy traffic around several cities in the state's western oil patch.
The plan includes a $10 million temporary highway bypass in Williston, to be completed this summer, and a $6 million detour project in New Town, CBS reports
. Other bypass project locations include Watford City, Dickinson, Alexander and Killdeer.
"I think this will make a huge difference in peoples' perception" of the oil industry," Dalrymple told The Associated Press. Bypasses, he said, "are the single biggest thing we can do to relieve the impact on people."
The projects were summarized in a report
created from 14 public meetings held throughout western North Dakota's oil-producing counties and attended by more than 600 local officials and residents. Common challenges included in the report are the region's needs for the continued development of affordable housing, infrastructure upgrades and public safety enhancements.
Dalrymple also announced his decision to hire a state energy impact coordinator to monitor local issues and report to his office on the region's progress and needs.
"We are providing a tremendous amount of funding and resources throughout western North Dakota's oil counties to tackle the challenges outlined in the report," Dalrymple said. "The state is committed to meeting these challenges on a daily basis."