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Wendy Reuer, Published December 09 2013

Fargo approves new 2nd Street alignment along Red River

FARGO – Second Street North will remain a through street along the Red River when the city builds a permanent flood wall to the east, but Third Avenue will no longer connect to it, the City Commission decided Monday night.

The commission approved a plan for the alignment of Second Street that will shift the street to the west, making room for a floodwall on the east side. The floodwall will stretch along Second Street from about Fourth Avenue North down to Dike East on the south side of Main Avenue.

The alignment plan keeps Second Street intact and allows for plenty of green space by closing off the connection of Third Avenue to Second Street near City Hall.

The city considered building a 740-foot tunnel along Second Street in front of City Hall, with a floodwall integrated into the tunnel’s side, but scrapped the idea after a majority of residents said they wanted Second Street North to remain as is.

The city hopes the floodwall project can work in tandem with a proposed new City Hall and possible pedestrian green space, creating a civic quad area that could spur private development.

City Engineer April Walker said the commission needed to approve the street alignment before architects can move forward with the final floodwall and landscaping designs.

Jerry Bents, an engineer with Houston Engineering of West Fargo, said the alignment allows for a fully enclosed lift station to be built between First and Third avenues and calls for Second Street to be built up in some places.

“We do see some significant changes in the roadway elevation,” he said.

Bents said as the city works to design the floodwall it can consider making it lower in some places for landscaping purposes.

“Where opportunities present themselves, we may look at some reduced height,” Bents said.

But Mayor Dennis Walaker cautioned the city about prioritizing aesthetics.

“We cannot allow ourselves to be influenced by the landscaping,” Walaker said. “The landscaping is part of this, but what is more important is protection.”

The $53 million floodwall does not qualify for federal money and will have to be paid for through state and local funds.

In other business

The city is considering changing the speed limit on 32nd Avenue North from Broadway to University Drive from 25 mph to 30 mph.

This fall, the street was widened and curb and gutter updates were installed.

Traffic Engineer Jeremy Gordon said a resident requested the city study traffic patterns, and a study of the area revealed most people drive faster than the 25 mph posted speed limit.

“It’s just more comfortable for the driver to go a little faster than 25 mph,” Gordon said.

The public will have 30 days to submit comments to the city on the matter.

If the change is not heavily protested, Gordon said he would likely request an official change from the Commission in January.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530