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By Mary Jo Almquist, Published August 26 2002

I-29 concrete work 85 percent completed

When the 2002 phase of the Interstate 29 project is done this fall, the North Dakota Department of Transportation will have paved 210,000 square yards of driving surface.

The I-29 work zone covers a wide area, including a portion of 13th Avenue South.

To get an idea of the size of the total area that's being covered, Kevin Gorder, NDDOT project engineer, says to imagine a straight 15-mile stretch of a two-lane road.

"That's about the equivalent," Gorder said. "That's a lot of concrete."

The I-29 project must be complete no later than Nov. 1. As of Friday, about 85 percent of the concrete work, or 180,000 square feet, had been finished.

Last year during phase one of the renovation project, the NDDOT had to cover 140,000 square yards of driving surface.

At this time last year, paving was done. But this year's project is significantly larger, and workers have covered 40,000 more square yards in the same amount of time, Gorder said.

By the time the entire project is complete in 2007, more than 655,000 square yards of concrete will have been poured.

"And that's just the concrete," Gorder said, noting that workers also will haul about 320,000 cubic yards of dirt this year.

The I-29 project is nearing completion, though. Workers have been paving the interstate for the last few weeks and will continue to do so this week, Gorder said.

Progress also is being made on the city of Fargo's 13th Avenue project from 25th Street to 34th Street.

Starting today, the area west of 25th Street on 13th Avenue will be opened up to two lanes each direction as well as the center left turn lanes.

Drivers still will encounter short- term lane closures and boulevard work for the next four to six weeks prior to finalizing this reconstruction, however.

"We're hoping this will make everyone a little happier," said Brenda Derrig, city project coordinator. "The opening will alleviate a lot of congestion on this stretch."

The city's portion of the project must be complete no later than Oct. 18, but Derrig said she expects to beat this deadline.

For more on the I-29 project, visit the Web site www.i29fargo.com. Information on city road construction projects can be found at www.fargostreets.com.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mary Jo Almquist at (701) 241-5531