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Riverbank erosion threatens Cass County highway, utility lines

The riverbank erosion on the west side of Cass County Highway 81 is within 39 feet of the shoulder and even closer to the utility lines.

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Erosion along the Wild Rice River is a threat to Cass County Highway 81 and nearby utility lines. This is a view looking south on the west side of the highway.
Barry Amundson / The Forum
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Editor's note: This is the ninth in a series of articles about road construction and other infrastructure projects in the metro area this summer. It also includes information about lane closures and detours.

FARGO — Erosion on the banks of the Wild Rice River is prompting concerns about Cass County Highway 81 and utility lines that run near the river, just south of Fargo near 88th Avenue.

The county has monitored the site over the past two years. Changes were relatively minor until April when a significant slide occurred, with more of the bank failing. A project to repair the area needs to be completed by this fall, County Engineer Jason Benson told county commissioners last week.

The commissioners approved a contract with Houston Engineering to develop a final design for the repair project, which could include either putting riprap along the river bank or a wall to fortify the bank.

Benson said the bank erosion on the west side of the highway is within 39 feet of the shoulder and even closer to the utility lines.

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The project has an estimated cost of about $1.5 million. The North Dakota State Water Commission this month awarded $732,950 for the project.

Other Cass County projects

Harwood: Cass County commissioners have approved funds for an intersection improvement project near the Cenex gas station and Harwood Elementary School as the town is planning to improve Freedland Drive just south of County Road 22.

The intersection will be widened between the county road and Freedland Drive to improve access and safety for trucks and buses that use the intersection.

The county will pay $77,525 for the intersection work, Benson said. Harwood will pay for the rest of the work on the city street.

Mapleton: A shared-use pathway along Cass County Highway 11, the main north-south road in Mapleton, has been approved.

Cass County commissioners OK'd an agreement between the county and the city of Mapleton for the path between Carl Olsen Drive and Sunset Drive. The path will start about a quarter mile north of Interstate 94 and run for about three blocks north, connecting with other paths in the city.

Mayor Andrew Draeger said it will provide a better connection to the town's school and the golf course neighborhood.

The county's 50/50 share for the path will be $388,123. Mapleton plans to add trees and do some disability access work in the area that will raise its share to $451,000.

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The town received a grant of $50,000 from the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District for the project, which the county supported because of concerns about keeping pedestrians off the county highway. There is a pedestrian crosswalk planned just north of Sunset Drive.

Fargo projects

64th Avenue bridge: There will be some lane closures on Interstate 29 on the south edge of Fargo as beams are installed for the 64th Avenue overpass.

Northbound lanes on the interstate will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Monday night, June 27, and Tuesday, June 28. A marked detour route will be in place during those times to guide traffic.

Then from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday, southbound interstate lanes will be closed.

There are already some lane closures in place at the bridge site.

13th Avenue South: By Tuesday, the concrete rehabilitation project on 13th Avenue South will move east away from the Interstate 29 interchange, making traffic flow easier in that area.

Project manager Jeremy Engquist also said the bike path through the area will reopen.

The interchange intersections remained opened during the work but there were numerous lane closures in the area snarling traffic.

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Work will now move eastward from 34th Street or the street that leads into the west side of Cashwise to Page Drive near the Casey's convenience store. There will be lane closures and occasional intersection shutdowns in that three-block area over the next six to eight weeks until all of the work is completed.

This is the second year of the project to replace worn concrete panels to extend the life of the avenue. Engquist said there hadn't been any maintenance on the avenue for about 20 years.

Last year, the work was focused in the area of 13th Avenue and 25th Street.

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