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Fargo is all lit up as city completes streetlight installation

City Engineering Department completes goal of putting street lighting on all city boulevards

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Street lights are seen Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, along Eighth Street South, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 16th in a series of regular reports on road and other infrastructure projects this construction season in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, Cass County and Clay County.

FARGO — In 2014, the Fargo Police Department raised questions about the older areas of the city that didn't have streetlights, leaving many neighborhoods in the dark.

Seven years later, with two projects being completed this year through the guidance of the city's engineering department, Fargo can report it's all lit up.

City Engineer Brenda Derrig told city commissioners at a recent meeting that the streetlights effort on all city streets is complete with the work being done this summer.

That means about 14,500 streetlights will be keeping the city in the light when the dark falls.

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City Traffic Engineer Jeremy Gorden said all new developments in the city are also required to have street lighting.

"It's a requirement of ours," he said. "They are as necessary as water, sewer, paving and sidewalks."

When the city takes on reconstruction of streets and avenues, they also try to improve street lighting as part of the project.

The final two projects being completed this summer involve installing lights in older parts of the city and in the quickly developing industrial area in far north Fargo.

One contract costing about $1 million involves lighting up three areas in the core neighborhoods. Part of that work is a square area between Broadway and Elm Street from 27th Avenue North to 32nd Avenue North. The other installations are a one-block stretch on Fifth Street North from 18th Avenue to 19th Avenue and then in the south-central part of the city on 14 1/2 Avenue South to 15 1/2 Avenue South between 11th Street and 12th Street.

The contracted project for $434,000 in far north Fargo starts near the new Amazon building on 40th Avenue North or County Road 20 to the Red River.

The street lighting in the city also has another component: It's an energy saving measure as the city is slowly but surely changing the streetlights to LED.

"We've been bidding out projects in the last number of years switching out high pressure sodium lamps on the arterial roadways to the LED fixtures," Gorden said. "We have tackled about 215 fixtures per year."

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He said they also replace the older lamps that burn out with LED lights as part of the maintenance work done by the city's signals and lighting electricians. He believes they replace about 100 fixtures a month in that way.

In other Fargo project updates this week:

SIXTH AVENUE SOUTH: The avenue is closed between Third and Fourth streets for private underground utility work. The work will likely be done later this week.

SEVENTH AVENUE NORTH: Crews were pouring the last stretch of the concrete roadway that has been reconstructed from west to east starting at University Drive to Broadway. The project began April 19 and involves seven blocks with new utilities and sidewalks in the major east-west roadway on the north edge of downtown.

11TH STREET NORTH: The project on the west side of downtown is nearing completion as crews are finish up wider sidewalks on both the east and west side of the one-block project. It's part of the city's ongoing effort to repair some of the city's oldest roads and utilities downtown. The one-block stretch is from NP Avenue to First Avenue North.

Cass County project

GEORGETOWN BRIDGE: The Cass County Highway Department and Clay County Highway Department have closed the bridge crossing on Cass County Road 34 and Clay County Highway 36, also known as the Georgetown Bridge. The closure is due to a roadway slump west of the bridge. The closure is not due to structural issues with the bridge. Clay County coordinated with the MNDOT to complete a bridge inspection this week. Following the results of the inspection, the counties will evaluate when to reopen the bridge. While the bridge is closed, residents are asked to detour to either the bridge east of Harwood on Cass County 22 or Clay County 26, or to the bridge west of Perley on Cass County 26 and Norman County 39.

Moorhead projects

34TH STREET SIGNAL: The temporary traffic signal at 34th Street South and Fourth Avenue South is currently helping to manage diverted traffic from the SE Main Avenue/20th Street/21st Street underpass project. Area residents requested a permanent signal, and an evaluation of traffic study concluded the signal was warranted. The temporary signal will remain in place throughout construction and until the permanent signal is installed in 2023.

30TH AVENUE SOUTH: The project on the busy east-west roadway just south of Interstate 94 is well into its second phase of reconstruction. The phase from 17th Street to 20th Street is open to traffic. There is still some work to do on that segment involving pavement markings and turf establishment, but that will be done after the second phase from 14th Street to 17th Street has been paved. The contractor is installing the gravel base and plans to begin pouring the concrete pavement by the end of this week. It's anticipated the second phase will be open to traffic by mid-to-late September. While the road is under construction, access to all businesses on 30th Avenue is from 17th Street. The other part of the roadway from Eighth Street or Highway 75 to 14th Street was reconstructed a few years ago.

An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. bamundson@forumcomm.com 701-451-5665
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