Frequently flooded road in Fargo's Lindenwood Park to be raised

The project will lift the road above many of the minor flood level to allow Fargo residents to use it for more of the year.

The Fargo Park District is looking at replacing the stretch of Roger Maris Drive that runs along the Red River at Lindenwood Park. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO — For decades, the Red River has inundated the loop road in south Fargo's Lindenwood Park whenever the water reaches the minor flood stage of 18.5 feet, but plans to rebuild the road next year aim to change that.

The Fargo Park Board has approved seeking bids for the estimated $1.5 million project that will raise the elevation of the road to the 25-foot flood level, yet still preserve the loop roadway concept and character of one of Fargo's most popular parks.

Bids are expected to be opened in January, with work to start in early spring and be completed in three phases to keep most of the amenities in the park open throughout the summer.

The new one-way, concrete roadway will start near the information center and campground entrance area and be shortened to just over a half-mile to loop around the main shelter. It will stay away from the far east end of the park and the old lower portion of the loop road running along the river.

Longtime Parks Director Dave Bietz said the project was analyzed thoroughly. It wasn't feasible to rebuild the road, called Roger Maris Drive, on its current loop because flooding affects it so often in the spring on the lower end, he said.


The road surface was failing, he said, as floodwaters often suck the oil out of the asphalt roadway.

However, the old loop road will be left in place and remain open to vehicles in the winter months, when the frozen ground provides more stability. That will allow the Sertoma Club to hold its wildly popular annual holiday lighting display in December.

Pedestrians and bikers will also be able to use the old roadway year-round, which board member Vicki Dawson thought was a plus.

The carefully planned project that has been in the works for years will also involve moving the park's other three shelters from the east end of the park to the interior of the new loop roadway to provide easier access.

Park board members asked about the number of trees to be removed.

Bietz said a maximum of about 82 of the park's 3,000 trees will have to be removed for the new portion of the roadway, but he said they will be replaced on a 2-to-1 ratio elsewhere in the park.

Board member Jerry Rostad said he hopes the project can be done in a timely manner to allow people to enjoy the park for the entire summer.

Dawn Morgan, another board member, said she was thrilled with the "major project to improve the park that so many are passionate about."


She suggested a big celebration next year to mark the project's completion.

Bietz said they were planning a public informational meeting on the design, but because of the coronavirus pandemic they decided against it. Rather, they sent letters to neighbors of the park describing the project plans.

He said they also worked with the Sertoma Club, which was supportive of the effort and plan.

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