Kyle Potter, Published April 17 2014
As construction season gets underway, drivers may want to avoid stretch of 25th Street South in FargoFARGO - Starting later this spring and lasting through the fall, drivers may want to avoid 25th Street South in Fargo as construction crews add a lane in each direction over a six-block stretch around Interstate 94.
It’ll be the highlight – or the lowlight, if you’re stuck in traffic – of this year’s construction season. The estimated $14 million project will shut down north- and southbound traffic on 25th Street to one lane each from when construction starts in May through November. The project also includes a freeway entrance behind Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill, so northbound drivers can hop on I-94 to head east toward Moorhead.
Fargo and North Dakota’s Department of Transportation recently opened bids for the project, said Kevin Gorder, an NDDOT assistant district engineer.
“They’ll start as soon as they can,” Gorder said.
Once construction starts, between 23rd Avenue South and 17th Avenue South, Gorder said drivers should avoid the area if possible.
“If you don’t need to be there … find an alternate route so there’s room for the people that need to be there,” he said.
And no matter where the construction is, Gorder urged drivers to be careful passing through construction zones.
“Slow down,” he said. “Put the cellphone away, put the food down … and really focus on driving when you drive through these work zones.”
Here are some other projects in store for the year throughout the metro area.
It’s a busy year for road construction in Fargo, Division Engineer Cody Eilertson said.
In addition to the road- and bridge-widening project on 25th Street, Fargo plans to rehabilitate the road south to 32nd Avenue. The city has held off on that project to coincide with widening to limit traffic impacts.
Traffic on Main Avenue between University Drive and 23rd Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction for three to four weeks as crews resurface the rough road. Eilertson said he expects that work to start sometime between mid-May and late June.
NDDOT plans to rebuild the rest of Main Avenue – between University Drive and the Red River – in 2017.
Crews will also rebuild 19th Avenue near the Fargodome, between 10th and 18th streets. The project will last through much of the fall, resulting in some detours. It will cost nearly $5 million, according to city planning documents.
“There will be an impact on people to concerts, but there will always be a way in,” Eilertson said.
Plus, the city plans to install a special crossing signal, called a high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon, for pedestrians to cross 19th Avenue to the Fargodome.
The city will also build out 70th Avenue near Davies High School to connect with University Drive.
It will be a big construction year in West Fargo with little traffic impacts because most of their projects are new roads, said City Administrator Jim Brownlee.
But the city is spending $7.4 million to turn the rural, two-lane 40th Avenue East between Sheyenne Street and Veterans Boulevard into a four-lane arterial with a median and turn lanes. The project will start early next month, meaning detours around the area at least until mid-August, when the city hopes to open two lanes of traffic.
The full project won’t be complete until mid-October.
The city will also shut down Seventh Avenue East in between 17th Street East and 45th Street South to redo the street, again resulting in detours around the area, said Dustin Scott, assistant city engineer. That $1.3 million project will start later this month and end in mid-October.
Two major projects will disrupt traffic in Moorhead, but each has a silver lining, said Assistant City Engineer Tom Trowbridge.
“I think in both cases, people will be happy to see them done,” he said.
On Southeast Main Avenue between Oakway and I-94, crews will shave off asphalt and replace it with concrete over the nearly two-mile stretch. The work will be done in phases, reducing traffic to one lane in each direction in stretches from June or July through September or October.
“This is a road that we’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Trowbridge said. “Of all the roads we have, that’s probably in the worst condition.”
The project also includes replacing the traffic signal and adding turn lanes at the 12th Avenue South intersection. It’s estimated to cost between $4.5 million and $5 million, though the federal government is picking up part of the tab.
Fargo and Moorhead will spend about two months after the Fargo Marathon repairing the bridges at First Avenue North. Traffic will funnel down to one bridge, one month at a time, while the other is being improved.
In conjunction with Clay County, Moorhead also plans to spend the summer resurfacing 11th Street North between Center Avenue and 28th Avenue.
Greater North Dakota
Westbound traffic on I-94 will slow and funnel down to one lane for an 11-mile stretch west of West Fargo as NDDOT resurfaces one lane of the freeway at a time. Gorder said the entire resurfacing project, at a cost of about $2 million, shouldn’t take more than two weeks or so.
The state is also widening state Highway 46 by Kindred, between Highway 18 and I-29, this summer. The $5 million project could start later this month and last into September, Gorder said.
“We’re just going to maintain what we have,” Gorder said.
Minnesota’s Department of Transportation will spend about $5 million to resurface a 20-mile stretch of Highway 75 north of Moorhead, spokesman Jerimiah Moerke said. Crews will also add turn lanes. The project will close a lane of traffic from July through September.
MnDOT will also spend the summer rebuilding the eastbound Highway 10 bridge over the Buffalo River. Drivers heading out to the lakes will cross over onto the westbound bridge during construction, which should start in May and end sometime in August. That project will cost an estimated $1.2 million.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Kyle Potter at (701) 241-5502