Plans develop further for major roadway projects in Moorhead
MOORHEAD — Key design concepts are taking shape for the U.S. Highway 10 and U.S. 75 reconstruction projects in Moorhead after more than 1,250 city residents provided input at meetings or through written comments.
The initial plans, which will start to be put into final designs in the next few years, were presented to the Moorhead City Council on Monday night, May 11.
The public can view the draft report and corridor analysis in an online open house through Thursday, May 21, at 4 p.m.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation, in coordination with SRF Consulting Inc., worked on coordinating the input as state engineers and others soon begin their work.
Although the two-year project isn't slated to start until 2025, traffic and development issues could surface with future adjustments to the plans.
Some of the key concepts that are likely to be put into the plan, by highway sections, include:
MAIN AVENUE (U.S. Highway 10): The biggest possible change is going from a four-lane to a three-lane road, which would match what was done on the Fargo side of Main Avenue. The three-lane would go from the Red River bridge to the Eighth Street intersection, said SRF consultant Leif Garnass, who made the presentation. The change would involve a turning lane and extra parking along the roadway, with a goal of also making the roadway more friendly to pedestrians and bikers.
Garnass said other concepts are to make the roadway more conducive to stimulating more business and development growth, give it more of a "gateway feel" with beautification efforts as it's a key entrance to Minnesota, and to make the downtown stretch, along with Center Avenue, feel and look more like a place to "socialize, work, shop and live."
The east end of Main Avenue is in flux as officials are waiting to see if a new 11th Street railway underpass receives enough funding in the coming few years. It is one of MnDOT's top priorities and the project would likely affect what's done with Main Avenue in that area.
Another priority would be to have signs along the avenue warning of trains so as to allow motorists to take alternate routes.
CENTER AVENUE: A major redesign could be in store along the avenue that stretches from the Red River all the way east toward the intersection with 21st Street, with a focus on the changes near the Moorhead Center Mall.
Plans are to make it more friendly to bikers, pedestrians and storefronts, with lower speeds for motorists.
Also in the two downtown roadways, Garnass said suggestions are for wider sidewalks in some locations, improved crosswalks and use of "dead-end spaces" for smaller park areas, benches or parking.
U.S. HIGHWAY 75 or EIGHTH STREET SOUTH: Many residents commented that it "feels like a highway" and would like to see some changes, although Garnass said it's also a "commuter route" that needs to be maintained.
Some of the resident suggestions were to keep the large trees along the roadway to maintain the "historical character."
Intersection crossings were a safety concern, especially at Second Avenue South and Fourth Avenue South. On Second Avenue, a proposal would limit the roadway to only right-hand turns onto the highway as accident data indicates a larger number of crashes.
A major wish was for a "shared-use pathway" or sidewalk along both sides of the street, connecting with improvements already made on the Interstate pathway underpass and the south side of Interstate 94.
U.S. HIGHWAY 10 EAST: This area would be done in the second phase of the project in 2025 and Garnass noted it was a "vastly different" section of roadway as it's in more of a commercial and industrial area. However, many residents said they wanted more of an "urban feel" to the roadway by perhaps eliminating the ditches and adding pedestrian and bicycle trails on both sides of the roadway with sidewalk underpasses at the intersection with Highway 75.
Garnass said it's not a popular area for bikers and pedestrians because they had safety concerns. However, many were hoping for adjustments and trails to help improve access.
The hope for the urban feel was that it connects to Dilworth's downtown.
The council gave their unanimous approval to the initial plans, with Mayor Johnathan Judd commenting that the projects were "very important for the future of our city." The project will include a city cost-share.
View the draft plan and study at www.fmmetrocog.org/projects-rfps/us-1075-corridor-study .