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Published May 14 2012

Fargo OKs expansion of roads bordering West Fargo

FARGO – City leaders here unanimously approved Monday a metro corridor study that recommends short-term construction projects to accommodate expected growth in southwest Fargo’s blossoming subdivisions.

Veterans Boulevard, south of Interstate 94, serves as West Fargo’s southeastern border and Fargo’s southwestern border.

Between now and 2014, metro planners recommend expanding Veterans Boulevard between 32nd and 40th avenues south and expanding 40th Avenue between Drain 27 in Fargo and the Sheyenne River in West Fargo.

Those two projects would have a combined estimated cost of about $17.3 million – $9 million for the work on 40th Avenue South and

$8.3 million for the Veterans Boulevard project.

Fargo’s share would be about $10 million, said Wade Kline, executive director of the Metropolitan Council of Governments, which wrote the corridor study. Local shares of most of the project costs would be split 50-50 with West Fargo, with Fargo footing the entire bill for the portion of the 40th Avenue South project within its city limits.

Fargo traffic engineer Jeremy Gorden said Fargo’s share of the projects will likely be paid for with a mix of sales tax dollars and special assessments to benefiting properties.

The expanded thoroughfares are needed to accommodate explosive growth, particularly in south West Fargo, where the city’s second high school and second middle school will be housed off 40th Avenue by 2014.

Fargo’s side of Veterans Boulevard has also seen new development in recent years, with construction of Scheels Arena, the Sanford POWER Center and the Sanford-YMCA Wellness Center.

Next, Sanford Health will build a $350 million medical center in Fargo off Veterans Boulevard and the I-94 interchange.

MetroCOG’s study projects traffic flows on Veterans Boulevard could at least triple by 2035 and could reach nearly 31,000 vehicles per day at the busiest stretch.

That amount of traffic would easily rival, if not outright surpass, traffic volumes seen today on Fargo’s main thoroughfares like University Drive, 13th Avenue South and 25th Street.

West Fargo commissioners are set to vote on approving the corridor study during their meeting next week.

With both cities’ approval, city planners and engineers can move forward with the recommended construction projects.


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