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Construction on Interstate 29 overpass in south Fargo taking big steps forward

Motorists can expect a nighttime detour for a week starting June 20, and lane closures under the bridge throughout the summer.

64th Avenue overpass
Construction on the 64th Avenue overpass of Interstate 29 is pictured Thursday, June 3, 2022, in south Fargo. The geofoam or 120-pound Styrofoam blocks pictured are used in establishing a stronger base for the roadway leading to the bridge.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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FARGO — The two-year project to build an overpass over Interstate 29 on 64th Avenue is taking some big steps forward this month.

Project manager Jason Leonard said the work is on schedule despite all of the rains this spring as crews have been installing 120-pound geofoam blocks that will serve as part of the base for the built-up roadway to the bridge. The blocks have been stored on the site for weeks and are visible to the many vehicles passing by on the interstate.

Leonard said installation of the blocks, made of a dense Styrofoam that measures 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide and 8 feet long, was completed on the west side of the overpass Friday.

Crews will be working on the east side in the coming days, as well as wrapping the installed blocks with a thick plastic cover to prevent any deterioration.

The goal with the blocks and other work that has been done is to reduce any settlement around the new overpass that the city is hoping will eventually become an interchange. Last year, crews installed thousands of drains to carry water away in the subsoil and built up with clay the lower base that settled over the winter to help with stabilization.

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On a positive note, Leonard and Assistant City Engineer Tom Knakmuhs said because of better than expected settling, the number of geofoam blocks needed was cut from 8,000 to 4,200, saving the city and taxpayers about $1.5 million on the project. The engineering department was also concerned about having enough of the blocks available because of supply chain issues, but that was alleviated because of the need for fewer blocks.

While the final phases of the base are completed in the coming few weeks and the center pier between the lanes on the interstate and abutments on the end of the bridge have already been finished, the next step will be the bridge itself.

Starting on Monday, June 20, Leonard said they will be closing the interstate at night between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. for about one week to install the 5-foot tall bridge beams that will stretch across the 400-foot bridge span. The detour will take traffic to the east of the site along 52nd Avenue, University Drive and the 100th Avenue interchange.

Following that, Leonard said there will be lane closures on the interstate until September as crews work on the bridge deck and a shared-use path across the bridge on the north side.

The overpass connects the growing southeast part of the city with what is expected to be the extensive future growth in southwest Fargo on the west side of I-29, according to Knakmuhs.

The southwest area is already developing as work has started on the new Fargo Sports Complex for indoor recreation activities as well as on the new countywide Career Innovation Center to provide student and worker training. They are both scheduled to open next year.

The overpass project is also tied in with construction of about a mile of the new concrete roadway on 64th Avenue on both sides of I-29 and a mile of 45th Street south of 52nd Avenue.

In all, the overpass and road building work in the area will cost about $25 million, counting the savings because of the lower expense for the geofoam blocks.

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Knakmuhs said the underground utility work is being completed on 64th Avenue and 45th Street with concrete paving of 64th Avenue to start in July with 45th Street paving starting later in the summer. All work will be completed this fall.

In other Fargo project updates:

25th Street South: Work has started on private underground utility work on 25th Street between 12th and 16th Avenues. The work should be completed this week. Traffic in the southbound lane will be reduced to one lane and will be shifted into the center turn lane. Northbound traffic will be unaffected.

Fourth Avenue North: Work has started on Fourth Avenue North between Seventh Street and 10th Street to permanently patch the concrete roadway. The avenue work should be done this week when the concrete achieves design strength. Farther to the east on Fourth Avenue, beginning Monday, June 6, the eastbound lane between Roberts Street and Broadway will be closed for up to 14 days for underground private utility work. Vehicles eastbound will be detoured around the work zone to Second Avenue North.

32nd Avenue South: Beginning Tuesday, June 7, westbound 32nd Avenue will be reduced to one lane between 27th Street and 28th Street to relocate utility poles along the avenue. The closure is only expected to last two days.

County Road 31: The road will be closed in north Fargo between 40th Avenue North and 48th Avenue North to allow for concrete warranty work on a levee closure structure starting this Monday, June 6. Vehicles will be detoured around the closure for an expected two weeks via Old Highway 81 and 75th Avenue North.

Moorhead projectsCenter Avenue: The long-awaited reconstruction project on what will become one of the focal points of downtown's revitalization will start this Monday, June 6.

Phase One will be from the Red River Bridge to Sixth Street and is expected to last until late August.

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The bridge from Fargo on NP Avenue will be closed.

During the two phases, businesses along Center Avenue may need to be accessed through alternate routes.

During Phase One the routes to the businesses are:

  • The Moorhead Center Mall should be accessed via Third, Fourth or Seventh streets.
  • US Bank can be accessed via Fourth or Fifth Street south of Center Avenue.
  • Scheels can be accessed by Fifth Street south of Center Avenue
  • American Federal Bank may be accessed using the parking areas of Scheels or Moorhead Billiards.
  • Moorhead Billiards and Wells Fargo may be accessed from Center Avenue until the second phase starts in late August.

The project involves street and utility improvements including new concrete pavement, lighting, sidewalks, storm sewer and landscaping.
Phase Two will be from Sixth Street to Eighth Street and start once Phase One is completed. The entire project is expected to be done by late October.

Interstate 94 exit ramp and County Road 52: Starting this Monday, June 6, the Interstate 94 exit ramp (Exit 2A) will be closed to Clay County Road 52 and Southeast Main Avenue for one week, weather permitting, The work is part of Phase One of three phases for work on resurfacing and upgrading County Road 52 to Sabin. During the ramp closure, motorists should use the exit on 34th Street and follow detour signs. The roadway will also be closed between the interstate and 30th Avenue South. Traffic will be detoured east to 34th Street South for north and southbound traffic on County Road 52.

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