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Kristen M. Daum and Wendy Reuer, Forum staff writers , Published February 16 2012

Road construction scheduled on busy metro routes likely to bring tangled commutes

FARGO – Metro-area drivers could see gridlock this spring, once construction season revs up.

Several thoroughfares in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo are scheduled for total rebuilds in 2012, and the work will force drivers onto detours guided by the seasonal maze of orange.

Fargo

Two road construction projects, worth about $6.6 million total, will put a strain on two popular traffic routes in Fargo. Crews will reconstruct stretches of both Seventh Avenue North and 10th Street North this summer.

The Seventh Avenue project involves nearly half a mile of roadway between 36th and 39th streets, including the Interstate 29 overpass.

Fargo-based Northern Improvement Co. is heading up the $2.9 million project to widen the road to three lanes and also widen the I-29 bridge.

It’s the next phase in reconstructing the roadway, after crews widened Seventh Avenue from 45th Street to I-29 last year.

Near North Dakota State University’s campus, 10th Street North will also be torn up, starting this spring.

About three-quarters of a mile of road between 12th and 17th avenues north will be reconstructed.

Fargo-based Dakota Underground Co. was awarded the $3.7 million contract for the project.

Moorhead

On the Minnesota side, Moorhead Engineer Bob Zimmerman said the largest impact to traffic this summer will likely be a project to reconstruct 20th Street from Sixth Avenue to 12th Avenue South.

Zimmerman said 20th Street will be closed and traffic will be rerouted around the $1.5 million project when it begins in June or July.

Two other Moorhead projects will have less of an impact on traffic but will eventually make south Moorhead a little easier to navigate, Zimmerman said.

A $2.5 million paving project will begin this summer on 28th Avenue South from 20th Street to 26th Street.

Currently, 28th Avenue – which serves as a frontage route north of Interstate 94 – has a gravel surface. The road will be closed during construction.

After receiving the OK from federal officials in winter, Moorhead will also reconstruct the ramps at Main Avenue and Interstate 94. “We hope to have them open by fall,” Zimmerman said.

Meanwhile, traffic on Moorhead’s Main Avenue will be slowed for about a week while crews resurface the road, officials say.

“There won’t be a detour, it will just be lane closures,” said Dana Casey Hanson, a public affairs specialist for the Minnesota Department of Transportation District.

The Main Avenue work is part of a larger project that includes replacing a total of six signal lights in the city, four of which are on Main.

Other traffic enhancements will be made on U.S. Highway 10, or Center Avenue, from Eighth Street to 34th Street, Hanson said.

MnDOT will pay for the majority of the $4.6 million project. The city and Clay County will also contribute.

West Fargo

Work to reconstruct Main Avenue in West Fargo will resume this summer, with an emphasis on the portion of the road from Sixth Street East to 45th Street.

It’s the second of three phases for the $12 million project. The first stretch, between Fifth Street West and Sixth Street East, was rebuilt in 2009.

The entire project should wrap up in 2015 when the stretch west of Fifth Street West to Interstate 94 will be reconstructed.

Meanwhile, other construction work in West Fargo this year will be largely focused on residential developments and a couple minor roadways, Assistant City Engineer Dustin Scott said.

Fargo and West Fargo city leaders are also discussing the possibility of starting to rebuild Veterans Boulevard from 32nd to 40th avenues south this year. That project is still under review, Scott said.

The boulevard is due to see much heavier traffic in the coming years, as West Fargo school leaders prepare to build a second middle school and convert the Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center into the city’s second high school.


Readers can reach Forum reporters Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541 and Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530