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Kristen Daum, Published October 02 2009

‘Historic day’ for West Fargo as Ninth Street interchange opens

The opening of the Ninth Street interchange at Interstate 94 in West Fargo on Thursday marked a milestone for the city on the grow, officials said.

The project was in the works for more than a decade – as local, state and federal officials discussed ways to bridge Fargo and West Fargo through the interstate access point.

“This is indeed an historic day,” West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern said at a ceremony officially opening the interchange. “I’m not usually speechless, but this is so exciting. It’s been a long time coming.”

The interchange allows access to Ninth Street East on the north side of I-94 and Veterans Boulevard, formerly 57th Street South, to the south.

Mattern predicted the south Fargo/West Fargo area will be transformed within the next decade through the opportunities enabled by access from the interchange.

“You’ll see, I think, a lot of commercial development, a lot of homes being built, and new families moving in to our communities because of this project,” Mattern said. “I am so grateful that we finally have it done.”

Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker and other local, state and federal officials stressed the amount of collaboration it took to get the project done.

“A lot of people who drive on I-94 might see it as just another bridge … but it’s a bridging of communities,” said Kent Campbell, executive director of the West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a collaboration of showing what government can do, what tax dollars can do.”

The $28 million project was funded by $13.5 million in federal dollars, $10.3 million from West Fargo, $3.6 million from Fargo and $708,000 in state aid, according to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

Crews worked for the past two years to stabilize the soil near the interchange before construction began in April.

The bridge portion of the interchange opened Aug. 21, while the on- and off-ramps opened Thursday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541