MOORHEAD — Although the railway underpass on Main Avenue in Moorhead won't open until next summer, work continues on the project, especially on two new stretches of roadway on the fringes of the underpass that should improve traffic flow.
City traffic engineer Jon Atkins said work is expected to be completed late this fall extending 21st Street leading into the underpass and reopening the intersection with Fourth Avenue South to improve traffic flow around Moorhead High School. The roadway from near the Casey's General Store to the south is being reconstructed and motorists will be able to turn onto and off Fourth Avenue when the project on the northeast side of the underpass is completed this fall.
A retaining wall is already in place around the roadway in that area.
The other roadways to be completed this fall are on the west side of the project where a portion of Main Avenue has been reconstructed in the 1800 block up to 19th Street which is also being reconfigured and rebuilt to provide a safer and easier connection into the Tastee Freez area. Main Avenue will continue to be closed to the east past 19th Street because that is where the roadway drops farther into the underpass.
Meanwhile, crews continue to build retaining walls in the area of the underpass as well as railroad bridge piers.
What has slowed the project is concern about the safety of the "shoo fly," a temporary bridge that was built for the Otter Tail Valley Raiload and BNSF Railway tracks. There was a slope failure on the shoo fly in early August which is still being examined for safety, but it also stopped any work in that area.
Atkins said most of the work on the three railroad bridges in the underpass, two of which were hoped to be completed this fall, has been halted for this year because of the shoo fly situation.
Additionally, a second period of overnight excavation work planned for this fall has been cancelled and will likely now be done in the spring.
Despite all of the problems and recent rainy weather, the project is still estimated to be about 58 percent complete. It was at one time hoped the underpass could have opened late this fall.
In other projects and traffic alerts in the metro:
First Avenue North in downtown Fargo: Beginning Monday, Oct. 7, First Avenue North will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Broadway and Roberts Street. Both lanes will be shifted to the south half of First Avenue North and parking will be removed. Crews will be installing underground utilities. The lane closures are expected to be in place for up to two weeks.
52nd Avenue South in Fargo: Crews continue to work on turn lanes, colored concrete, medians, bike paths and landscaping in the project area. In a few weeks, the head-to-head traffic between 45th Street and Veterans Boulevard will switch to the outside lanes in each direction on the new four-lane roadway as the other new bridge over the drainage ditch will open. Light pole bases are also being installed along the avenue as well as some signage. The project is slated to be completed by early November.
Sheyenne Street interchange area in West Fargo: The new bridge on Interstate 94 is completed with head-to-head traffic eliminated in the interstate but with only one lane of traffic in each direction.
The new ramps onto and off I-94 from Sheyenne Street are completed and in use, but has resulted in some "horn honking" until drivers get used to the newly redesigned interchange, officials. said However, a traffic coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Transportation is onsite and monitoring traffic to get the right traffic signal timing under the bridges to make sure traffic flows smoothly especially during peak times.
The newly widened diversion bridge could open in a matter of days as crews are still working on installing guard rails and doing cleanup work in the area.
Sheyenne Street South in West Fargo: Sheyenne Street from 40th Avenue West to 38th Avenue West has reopened to local traffic. All phases of the project are done in that area, although the road is still closed north of 38th Avenue as crews work on turn lanes and curb and gutter.
All concrete work is expected to be completed this week from 38th Avenue north to 32nd Avenue, the only remaining part of Sheyenne Street project that is completely closed to through traffic. Bases for light poles are being poured and bike path work on both sides of the road in that area underway.
Highway 10 in Dilworth: Starting Monday, Oct. 7, motorists heading westbound on Highway 10 near Dilworth will encounter shoulder closures from 14th Street to Seventh Street in Dilworth. Contractor crews will perform underground work, which is expected to be completed by Tuesday, Oct. 8, weather permitting.
Highways 27 and 75 in Wheaton, Minn. : All lanes are open on Highways 27 and 75 in Wheaton in western Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.. The highways have been under construction since August, as crews completed resurfacing, sidewalk improvements and accessibility upgrades in the city of Wheaton. Crews are still completing cleanup work. Ti-Zack Concrete Inc., based out of Le Center, Minn., was the prime contractor for the $1.74 million project.
Frazee Rest Area: MnDOT has reopened the Frazee Rest Area on westbound Highway 10. The rest area was temporarily closed for repairs. More than 20 million travelers stop at Minnesota rest areas annually, MnDOT officials said.
Highway 108 from Ottertail to Henning: MnDOT is asking residents not to disturb aerial photography targets as crews begin aerial mapping on Highway 108 from Ottertail to Henning. The aerial survey process relies on clear observations, and must be conducted after the leaves fall and before it snows. To begin the process crews place an “X” on the ground as a reference point for the aerial photographer. Aerial mapping is used to create a record of existing infrastructure and landscape along MnDOT right of way for transportation planning and highway design.
MnDOT requests that landowners not remove or disturb the targets, if possible, until the photography is completed. If a target must be moved, please contact the District 4 survey office at 218-332-5644 or by email at email@example.com.