FARGO — Gov. Doug Burgum told a crowd at the Thursday, Oct. 17, ribbon-cutting for the first phase of the Main Avenue reconstruction project that it was a "whole new way of thinking" when they designed the new roadway.

Instead of just designing it to increase the traffic load, the state and city worked together instead to improve walkability, pedestrian safety, and traffic safety, as well as to provide more parking spots for businesses along the avenue who Burgum said he hoped would thrive with the new features.

Also addressing the crowd were the new North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Bill Panos, who moved here from a similar job in Wyoming, who said the project planning was four years in the making, and Deputy Fargo Mayor Dave Piepkorn, who said the "coolest thing" about the project was the teamwork with the state.

Piepkorn said people who crossed the avenue at the intersection with Broadway, where the ceremony was held, used to "take their lives in their own hands" crossing the road there as there were five lanes of traffic.

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Piepkorn and Burgum said they also hoped the project would lead to more businesses along the avenue and Piepkorn said there was already a company interested in one location along the avenue.