EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of regular reports on road and other infrastructure projects this construction season in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo.
FARGO — Construction season has kicked off in the Fargo-Moorhead metro thanks to the early arrival of spring weather.
Most work during 2021 in Fargo will be in the far north and south of the city, where major building projects are underway or in their final planning stages.
In north Fargo, Amazon is paying for two road projects that will serve the web retailer's new fulfillment center north of Hector International Airport along Interstate 29. When the work is complete, Amazon will turn the road over to the city of Fargo, which will be responsible for maintenance.
Developers can either take on infrastructure projects on their own like Amazon or have the city itself do the project and pay through special assessments, according to Assistant City Engineer Tom Knakmuhs.
Amazon is building a new roadway called 44th Avenue and adding new water and sewer lines and drainage around its 1.3 million-square-foot facility. The new 44th Avenue will connect to 37th Street and 40th Avenue North.
Amazon is also preparing to seek bids for the construction of new turn lanes on 40th Avenue South. The busy road runs from the I-29 interchange and crosses the Red River into Moorhead. The turn lanes will allow for better and safer access to businesses along 40th Avenue and the new Amazon facility, officials said.
Meanwhile, construction is slated to begin on a mile stretch of University Drive North from 32nd Avenue to 40th Avenue. The road is rural in nature and has steep ditches, and Knakmuhs said it will be "urbanized" with curb and gutter, storm sewer and shared-use pathways.
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The city also plans to remove and replace the surface of Elm Street North with a new asphalt overlay from 12th Avenue to 36th Avenue.
Major projects are underway in far south Fargo, where work has started on the new 64th Avenue overpass above I-29. Crews will haul in dirt and let it settle this year and then build the bridge next year, Knakmuhs said.
Next year, officials plan to complete paving and other work on 64th Avenue. When complete, it will be another major east-west connection between Fargo, West Fargo and Horace.
Crews have also started work on nearby 38th Street, which used to be a dead-end just south of Walmart and 52nd Avenue. A contractor will be building a new roadway to connect the street to 64th Avenue and the already paved 38th Street farther north.
Crews are also installing sewer and water lines in areas on both sides of I-29, where planners expect major development in the next few years. Plans include a county career workforce academy, housing developments and a proposed indoor sports complex.
Other construction developments around the metro
- SEVENTH AVENUE NORTH: Work on this avenue enters its second year as construction starts on the segment from University Drive to Broadway. Work started last week on a water main valve, which has resulted in narrowing University Drive in that area to one lane. That will only last for about 30 days. Otherwise, detour routes around Seventh Avenue have been set up, with eastbound traffic using Fourth Avenue North and westbound traffic following Eighth Avenue North. Temporary signal lights have been put on University Drive and 10th Street on Eighth Avenue to help with traffic. Seventh Avenue will be completely reconstructed.
- 21ST AVENUE SOUTH: Workers are reconstructing a frontage road along Interstate 94 from Gold Drive to 15th Street in an area between 25th Street and University Drive. Drainage has been a problem in the area and the road surface is in poor condition, according to city officials. New storm sewer and connections should help solve the problem. Pathway connections to the pedestrian bridge over I-94 will also be improved.
- SPECIAL ASSESSMENT PROJECTS ON DEVELOPMENTS: New sewer and water lines are being put in an industrial park addition called Laverne's Addition in northwest Fargo, where fitness equipment manufacturer PRx is building a facility. Meanwhile, workers are constructing roads and utilities at A new residential development called Valley View Estates in southwest Fargo.