MOORHEAD — Despite the cold weather, a crew of about 55 is still working on the Moorhead underpass project and is expected to continue through most of the winter.
Ames Construction Co. and subcontractors are working on two railroad bridges, retaining walls and finishing work on the newly constructed 21st Street South near the high school.
Moorhead traffic engineer Jon Atkins said the 21st Street opening, probably Nov. 26 or 27, will provide better access to the school and allow residents in the nearby neighborhood better access to their homes. The street is on the northeast side of the two-year, $54 million underpass project and will eventually connect to Main Avenue.
A stoplight will be installed on the newly constructed corner of Fourth Avenue and 21st Street by the school, but because traffic doesn't go through farther to the south, Atkins said there will only be stop signs for now.
"We wanted to get it open to vehicular traffic," Atkins said. He added that a sidewalk along the street there isn't done so pedestrian traffic isn't available.
On the west side of the project, Atkins said a new two-block section of Main Avenue that was reconstructed with a new concrete four-lane street and median is open, allowing easier access to the Tastee Freez, Homegrown Hookah and neighborhoods in that area. That newly opened section of Main Avenue will also connect with the underpass. The area also includes a new asphalt connector road to the Tastee Freez neighborhood.
As for the bridges, Atkins said work continues on the two railroad bridges that will go over 21st Street with crews doing foundation or concrete footings. Steel work that will build the bridges up can continue even as the weather gets colder, he said.
Atkins said the decks for the railroad bridges will be poured in the spring. Once they are completed and open, the temporary railroad bridge that cuts through the project area can be removed and construction on the third railroad bridge over Main Avenue will begin.
Concrete work can continue during these colder days as crews use ground heaters and blanket coverings, Atkins said.
That means work can also continue on the retaining walls in the area. Most of that work is on the east side of the project area.
Atkins said work will continue until temperatures drop well below zero. He said crews worked through last winter except for about six weeks from mid-January to the end of February. He expects crews to also take a month or so off this year as well.