FARGO — Downtown Fargo and Moorhead traffic headaches will ease by mid-week as preparations continue for the influx of visitors and residents for the annual Downtown Street Fair that starts Thursday.
The 10th Street railway underpass on the west side of downtown Fargo is expected to open this week as the two lanes of roadway heading north are ready to go. There will be some sidewalk work yet to do on the underpass, but Jeremy Gorden, city transportation division engineer, said the detour should end mid-week as the two-year project winds down. Crews will also remove detour signage on University Drive by the weekend.
Also this week, on the east side of downtown Fargo, the NP Avenue-Center Avenue bridge across the Red River is expected to open on or before Wednesday, July 17, as bridge expansion joints across the bridge have been completed and the Moorhead Public Service Commission has finished its water line replacement work on Center Avenue. That will provide another east-west route between the two cities in the downtown area.
"Reopening Center Avenue and the bridge should provide some important downtown traffic relief," said Lisa Bode, communications director for the city of Moorhead.
The railing on the south side of the bridge still needs to be replaced because it wasn't high enough for bike pathways on both sides of the roadway. Gorden believes the railing work can still be done after the roadway and bridge reopen.
Gorden also said he expects Roberts Street in downtown to be open to traffic this week, eliminating another downtown detour route. He said they wanted to get the roadway, part of a two-year project, done before the street fair. Gorden said the street and curb and gutter are all completed, with only some sidewalk work on the east side of Roberts Street and some landscaping and tree plantings remaining.
Also open are Fifth Street in front of the Radisson Hotel and Third Avenue by the new parking ramp where utility hook-ups were being installed for the Block 9 project. However, the contractor will have to close part of Broadway in the coming weeks for a short time to do more utility hookup work on the west side of the 18-story building.
The Veterans Memorial Bridge and nearby underpass in Fargo remain open for traffic at least for now until work begins on the roundabout on Main Avenue and Second Street.
Fourth Street in Fargo
The roadway that was just completed last year has some problems, causing a detour on the street that runs along the Red River neighborhoods in east Fargo by Island Park. Gorden said warranty work is being completed on some panels of the roadway, causing a short detour. He said the detour should end this week.
However, work on replacing some curb and gutter along several stretches of the street will continue.
"It was kind of a surprise" Gorden said about the amount of curb and gutter and street panels that were flaking and had to be replaced.
"It was way more than normal and didn't meet our standards," he said. The contractor is paying for the repairs.
Main Avenue in Fargo
All of the underground utility work should be done on the Main Avenue project this week, with the exception of the soon-to-be started roundabout on the far east end of the work near the Veterans Memorial Bridge. Workers will begin prepping and paving the roadway between Fourth Street and Broadway in front of Wells Fargo and Bank of the West.
52nd Avenue in south Fargo
The paving of the avenue east of the two new bridges is complete with the exception of a "sleeper slab," which is an added support system to the bridge approach. Work will now start on the curb and gutter and sidewalks east of the bridges. The sidewalk or pathway will actually go underneath the bridge providing safety for pedestrians and bikers.
Work is starting this week prepping the 63rd Street intersection with 52nd Avenue for paving that will soon be open to provide another outlet for residents and businesses in the area.
Cass County Highway 17 in Horace
Work on the roundabout at the intersection with 76th Avenue South is about 50 percent complete. Also this week, work is underway on a shared-use pathway on the east side of the highway that will eventually connect with the pathway to the south closer to the center of Horace. Utility work is also starting on 76th Avenue to the east where the new middle school and high school will be built.
Sheyenne Street in West Fargo
A traffic shift is being made on Sheyenne Street north of Interstate 94 near the new Hornbacher's store as the two northbound lanes have been completed and traffic will be diverted to those lanes. There will be a designated left-turn lane into the Gateway West Development.
Work will now begin on adding the two southbound lanes in that area. A lot of work is also happening between 32nd Avenue South and 40th Avenue South where paving, utility work and roadway removal is taking place. It's the final stretch of the project. The neighborhoods next to the Sheyenne River on the east side of the street will this week start using 38th Avenue as the detour route into their homes.
Other project updates include:
- Moorhead railroad underpass: Due to rain, the city allowed the contractor to work on this past Sunday, July 14, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The project has now passed the 40 percent completion mark.
- Railroad crossings in downtown Moorhead: The BNSF railway has been upgrading its rail crossing in downtown Moorhead. The crossing on Fifth Street between Center Avenue and Main Avenue opened last Thursday. Crews are still working on the crossing closer to the river on Fourth Street. The city is also doing some utility work in that area.
- 42nd Avenue in south Fargo: Gorden said the bridge will be closed soon for about 30 days for completion of repairs. The roadway is being repaired from 19th Avenue South to 32nd Avenue South near Anderson Park so Gorden said some lane closures and possibly some detours may lie ahead.
- 26th Street in West Fargo: The road from Ninth Street NW to the railroad tracks near Sandhills Avenue NW is closed for the next three weeks to through traffic. This closure provides crews safe access to pump out an existing pond. Local traffic to access businesses in the area will be allowed during the closure.
- Belsly Boulevard in Moorhead: A planned roadway rehabilitation on Belsly Boulevard resulted in a road closure between 18th Street and 20th Street South in Moorhead. The closure started last Thursday and is expected to last three weeks.
- 45th Street: Due to a vehicle crash at 45th Street and 32nd Avenue, the traffic signals will not be working properly for up to one week. The signals will be flashing red. Lanes will be reduced in the intersection to make it safer until the lights are fixed.