It seems that every year, just before the North Dakota State Fair kicks off, there are construction zones everywhere. In fact, all we have to say is “state fair’s coming to town,” and others know exactly what it means.
When I first moved to this area of the state in 2000, it seemed like a coincidence that all this construction in the city of Minot was going on immediately before and during the fair. It continued year after year and actually ramped up.
You can’t help but wonder why, when hundreds of thousands of people come to Minot, or want to, that all this construction is taking place? I’m no expert, but there’s little doubt in my mind that most of those projects could wait an extra nine days to get started and/or finished.
Or, the other option would be to shorten the construction zone so less traffic is snarled in the process.
But, just like in past years and being in Minot two days before the 2023 fair started, it seemed like every turn had a construction project going on. Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. Several highways leading into Minot had construction as well.
In recent years I’ve had the chance to travel to nearby states, not on state fair dates, but during the summer and I haven’t seen construction projects like this, not even close.
Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Wyoming and Wisconsin didn’t have projects like North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Why is it different here?
More specifically, Wichita, Denver, Springfield, Mo., LaCrosse, Cheyenne, Council Bluffs and even the part of Chicago we drove through were spared of road construction. Is that a coincidence?
It begs the question, do those other states do a better job of building and repairing their roads, do they get better funding to use better materials, or do our crews in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota just quickly put it together knowing they’ll be right back there the next summer doing the same thing?
You can’t blame it on traffic wear and tear because there are parts of North Dakota and South Dakota in which population is quite sparse, so that wouldn’t hold up when comparing to construction on I-94 in southern Minnesota.
I will admit that in the states I mentioned Illinois has some toll roads, as does Wichita and Denver, so tolls and taxes together translate to more funding for these types of projects. But the rest do not.
One of the things that worries me and I’m thinking is beginning to worry a lot of people who visit Minot often, especially during the state fair, is they are getting tired of fighting with the construction and would just as soon stay away.
The North Dakota State Fair is an awesome event and has been for many years. It’s my opinion that everyone in North Dakota should go at least once to experience the excitement of it all.
And as fair officials continue to look for better ways to draw larger attendance, they’ve largely succeeded in that, while the city of Minot of Minot appears to continue to create traffic deterrents.
We also know this. Large numbers of people from Manitoba and Saskatchewan visited the fair until Covid hit us. But now, three years on, we’re beginning to see a lot of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and even Alberta license plates in various places in Minot and certainly at the fairgrounds.
More of our Canadian friends want to come to the United States, to Minot, to the North Dakota State Fair. They are seeking a good experience, let’s provide that for them!
A lot of people from Fargo, Wahpeton, Valley City and Mayville also want to come to come to the North Dakota State Fair. But why drive to Minot when they can just go to Fargo and enjoy the Red River Valley Fair sans construction?
Perhaps the state fair officials and city officials should work together and come to some kind of a compromise for those days of the fair. Should that happen, I guarantee attendance at the state fair would increase whether there’s a Jelly Roll concert or not.