FARGO — With paving complete on the $10 million Main Avenue reconstruction project, many may be wondering when the crucial thoroughfare will open.
Project Manager Aaron Kelsch of the North Dakota Department of Transportation only said that it's on schedule.
The good news is that the street could open before Sept. 15 from Broadway all the way to near Second Street South where a new roundabout will be constructed starting Monday, Aug. 12. The bad news is that the underpass on Second Street and the Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Red River will be closed at that time.
The avenue may open before Sept. 15 because the main contractor, Dakota Underground, will receive a financial incentive for each day the project is done before then. However, the roundabout isn't scheduled to be done until Oct. 18.
Kelsch estimates the project is 50 percent complete.
Some major milestones on the project are ahead this week as pedestrian traffic on Main in front of the bank and office buildings has been shifted to the middle of the road. This will allow the crews to work on sidewalks on both sides.
Main Avenue will also open to local access to the Fryin' Pan Family Restaurant and other businesses in the strip mall by Tuesday, Aug. 6. Although stoplights will eventually be installed at Fourth Street and Main Avenue, stop signs are likely going to be put there for now, Kelsch said.
When the Main Avenue work is done, the street will switch from a four-lane road to three lanes that includes a middle turning lane. This will allow parallel parking down Main Avenue on both sides of the road as well as safer pedestrian traffic on some wider sidewalks.
Trees will be planted along the avenue next spring. The center of the roundabout will also be landscaped then.
While all of the work is underway on Main this summer, NDDOT designers have been working on the rest of the project that will next year go from Broadway to near University Drive, according to Kelsch. The estimated $10 million second phase of the project will be bid in November.
Some unique features are planned for the second phase. Drivers going west on Main Avenue next year from downtown will be able to go north under the University Drive underpass and will then make a forced turn onto NP Avenue. A median will be built in the underpass to separate the traffic flow on what will continue to be mostly a one-way going south.
The advantage to underpass change is that it gives another route to the north when trains are overhead. Additionally, new digital signs will be installed on both ends of the Main Avenue project alerting drivers that they can take the underpasses to avoid trains.
Other projects in the metro making progress include:
52nd Avenue South in Fargo: By mid-August, one lane of traffic will flow in each direction on the westbound lanes on that stretch. West of 63rd Street on the far west end of the project traffic will be head to head in the eastbound lanes to Sheyenne Street. At that time, 52nd Avenue will closed west of Veterans Boulevard to just east of that 63rd Street intersection. Paving is underway on that section of road west of 63rd Street.
More immediately, the Veterans Boulevard intersection will open to north-south traffic flow Monday, Aug. 5. Both bridge decks are now poured on the two that go over the drainage ditch. Work started on the bridges in March. There is a bike and pedestrian six-foot wide path under the bridges that connects the north and south pathways.
Cass County Road 17 in Horace: The roundabout on the main north-south route leading to and from Horace is expected to open by Aug. 17. On the roundabout, crews are finishing curb and gutter, road tie-ins and shoulders.
Sheyenne Street in West Fargo: The confusing traffic flow near the new Interstate 94 interchange eased this past week, and traffic can now travel on the east side of the road from near the interchange south to the new diversion bridge. A turning lane was added to 21st Avenue West that leads to RJ's gas station and the neighborhood. In addition, Beaton Drive to the north of the I-94 interchange is re-opening to allow access to Sheyenne Street.
Farther south, Dakota Underground between the closed off 32nd Avenue to 40th Avenue South stretch is working on curb and gutter, grading, the bike path, a frontage road and paving in that area. One change in traffic flow in that area is that the 34th Avenue West intersection will open early this week.
Main Avenue in West Fargo: Westbound traffic on Main Avenue from 45th Street North to east of 17th Street East is being reduced to one lane on Monday, Aug. 5, and Tuesday, Aug. 6, to allow utility work.
42nd Avenue in Fargo: The busy avenue that crosses over Interstate 94 is closed for a few weeks to allow work to continue on repairing the "bumps" that have made driving over the overpass on each end uncomfortable. The street will be closed from 19th Avenue South then through the overpass to 23rd Avenue South. Sidewalks will also be closed on the overpass.
Following that work, traffic will be down to one lane in each direction farther south in the concrete pavement rehabilitation project all the way down to 32nd Avenue South. This part of the work that involves removing bad areas of concrete and replacing the area with new concrete will last into mid-October. Speed are reduced in the work zone as crews will be close to moving traffic.
42nd Street South in Fargo: The street closed last Thursday between Fourth and Ninth Avenues South for an emergency sewer repair. Vehicles will be detoured to 40th Street South via Second and Ninth Avenues South. The closure is expected to be in place until Friday, Aug. 9.
Broadway in downtown Fargo: Broadway is expected to reopen between Second and Third Avenues by Friday, Aug. 16. The three-week project has allowed the Block 9 building to hook into utilities under the street. Also new curb and gutter will be installed on the east side of Broadway to allow for a wider sidewalk by the new 18-story building. Parking will be parallel on that side of the street in the future.
Interstate 29 in Fargo: Starting Monday, Aug. 5, Xcel Energy will be installing overhead power lines over Interstate 29 between Main Avenue and 12th Avenue North. Work is expected to be done by the end of the week.
Moorhead underpass project: Work on constructing the railroad bridges has begun with the footings expected to be in place this week. Meanwhile, projects on the edges are nearing completion, according to Moorhead city traffic engineer Jon Atkins. Fourth Avenue and 19th Street by the Tastee Freez was paved as work on a retaining wall was completed. Normal traffic will resume there this week.
A new concrete 21st Street west of Moorhead High School should be done in mid- to late-August before regular classes resume. Also the intersection of Sixth Avenue and 20th Street on the southwest corner of the project should be done by the end of August.
15th Avenue North in Moorhead: The avenue that starts at the Red River bridge that crosses into Fargo and provides a major east-west route to U.S. Highway 75 is in its second year and is nearing completion. Work is progressing east and a new sidewalk has been completed along the road all of the way to the highway. Atkins said milling and a new overlay on the road from 11th Street to the highway started late last week and should be done in about two weeks. A new signal light will be installed at the intersection with the highway.
Center Avenue in Moorhead: Utility line installation should be completed by the end of this week. Eastbound lanes are open, but westbound lanes are detoured to First Avenue North.
Eighth Street South in Moorhead: One lane has been closed in each direction on Eighth Street or U.S. Highway 75 for paving. Also utility work in the area caused some closures of side streets and along Eighth Street. Moorhead Public Service is also working on relocation and repairs of water main in the area.