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Mila Koumpilova, Published April 28 2009

West Fargo Main Avenue project to begin

Bidding is complete and work is set to begin on a $12 million reconstruction of Main Avenue in West Fargo.

At a Monday meeting, city officials reassured home and business owners along Main that they’ll only foot a small fraction of the project’s bill.

West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern said the federal and state governments are covering roughly 90 percent of the cost to reconstruct Main from Sixth Street West near the Sheyenne River crossing to Fifth Street East. The city will pay for half of the remainder.

An estimated 800 homeowners and businesses will take care of the rest through special assessments, ranging from $500 to $1,000 spread over 15 years, City Administrator Jim Brownlee said. Brownlee sent residents in the affected area a letter about the Monday meeting to discuss special assessments.

He said he promptly heard from about 30 residents concerned about the cost. He said they seemed relieved when they found out their annual bill would be as low as $35.

“They’re saying, ‘If that’s all there is, then that’s fun,’ ” Brownlee said. “They thought it was going to be more.”

Kevin Gorder with the North Dakota Department of Transportation, which is handling the project, said local contractor Dakota Underground submitted the lowest of five bids. The firm’s proposal calls for

$8.6 million in construction costs, or $400,000 less than initial estimates.

Gorder said work on the project, which also involves a sewer and water system upgrade, will begin in about two weeks and continue into October.

Main Avenue will remain open, but generally only two of four lanes will be open to traffic.

“We’ll keep the roadway open so businesses can get customers to their doors,” Gorder said, adding by way of advice to residents, “Be patient. Plan ahead. Add some extra time to your itinerary if you can.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5529