BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Several property owners living along proposed routes for a Bismarck highway bypass have raised opposition to the project.

Some Bismarck landowners allege they were left in the dark about a study regarding potential bypass routes of U.S. Highway 83, the Bismarck Tribune reported .

The Bismarck-Mandan Metropolitan Planning Organization is evaluating alternative routes for the north-south highway after finding that traffic volumes, travel time and crashes are projected to increase along the corridor over the next 20 years.

The organization held two open houses this year to provide information on the study expected to finish in November. But landowners said they first found out about the meetings July 19, two days after the second open house.

"We, as taxpayers, paid $285,000 to have this study done," said Bea Streifel, who has lived along a proposed bypass route for 15 years. "If they would've taken $500 and sent a postcard to each person who was going to be personally impacted, it would've been a very tiny minuscule piece of their money ... and we would've been able to have a say, but now two of three meetings have already been held."

Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken said the landowners' concerns are valid.

"Anybody who's going to be inconvenienced by a proposed bypass needs to be heard," he said. "My No. 1 concern is what's fair and equitable to the property owners. If it cuts through somebody's house, I'm not a fan of that."

Streifel created a Facebook page called "People Against Hwy 83 Alignment" to bring awareness of the study and rally support for the final open house, which will be held in October.

"What we want to make clear is we're not against a good Highway 83 alternative. We're for the best choice for the taxpayers and for the property owners who will be involved," she said. "We're not against doing what's best for the city and the county. We're for the right choice and using existing infrastructure."


Information from: Bismarck Tribune,