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Kristen Daum, Published October 22 2009

Progress seen in West Fargo bridge project

Crews finished installing the box culverts that will replace West Fargo’s 32nd Avenue South bridge and are now working to backfill gravel and dirt, which will lock the culverts in place.

The city project, which spans the Sheyenne River, has faced many obstacles since it began in June. The riverbank in that area collapsed this summer, delaying the project by more than two months. Also, nearby residents suffered damage to their property, utility outages and possible water contamination, stemming from the construction.

West Fargo City Administrator Jim Brownlee said this week he feels more relieved now that the culverts are in place, which should stabilize the riverbank.

“I feel a whole lot better,” Brownlee said. “We should be out of the woods now. It’s just trying to stay ahead of the rain and get it buttoned up by Dec. 1.”

Nearby residents also have been reconnected to their permanent water supply through Cass Rural Water District.

In August, construction crews accidentally cut the Cass Rural Water line that served homes near the bridge project, and service was reconnected using West Fargo water lines.

Weeks afterward, a resident’s water sample tested positive for E. coli contamination, prompting officials to test the water.

Cass Rural Water flushed its lines and ran tests before re-connecting the homes on Friday, said Jerry Blomeke, general manager at Cass Rural Water.

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