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Engineers gather data on Main Avenue lane closures in Moorhead

A traffic experiment in Moorhead is enraging drivers across the metro as parts of Main Avenue are down to three lanes instead of five. Closures are a test to see if changing the road permanently would be a good idea.

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Finn Harrison / WDAY News
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MOORHEAD — City of Moorhead staff call it an experiment, while some drivers call it the reason they are late to work.

"If you're trying to get into M&H, you can sit here a while because the traffic, once it stops, it's just lined up, and it's a waiting game," Moorhead resident Brenda Meyer said.

"I thought it was terrible. It is the worst decision ever made," Antonio Durkee said.

"I didn't know what it was," Junior Higi said. "I didn't think they were parking spots."

The road experiment in question is a stretch of Main Avenue between Fourth and Seventh streets in Moorhead.

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The usual five-lane roadway has been reduced to three, with the two outside lanes closed off, acting as parking spots.

Working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Moorhead staff said it has the potential to give the space more walkability and make it feel less like a highway.

Assistant City Engineer Tom Trowbridge said the purpose of the lane closures is to collect data and feedback.

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"I'm not entirely comfortable with the concept of doing it, and a lot of the MnDOT engineers aren't either, and that's really what this study is about is, let's just find out maybe how this would work," Trowbridge said.

City of Moorhead staff told WDAY News the feedback so far is less than positive. MnDOT will be taking feedback through surveys starting Monday, Sept. 26.

Lanes will return to normal in mid-October unless a winter storm is predicted to come sooner.

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