EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of regular reports on road and other infrastructure projects this construction season in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo.
MOORHEAD — As the drawn-out Moorhead underpass project approaches another milestone, crews may have to work extended hours this summer to get the $53 million project completed by the end of 2021.
Workers are pouring concrete decks on two of the three railroad bridges needed to complete the underpass, which is in its fourth year of construction. The two nearly completed bridges, to be used by the Otter Tail Valley and BNSF railways, will pass over 21st Street.
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During the first week of June, the Otter Tail Valley Railroad will switch from its temporary track to begin using its new bridge.
After the new track is in place, work will start on a third bridge that will cross Main Avenue and on additional retaining walls. When that construction is done, crews can tackle the project's final phase of building and finishing up the streets that lie 25 feet under the bridges.
Although the project is listed as 77% complete, Assistant City Engineer Tom Trowbridge said there is still "significant" work remaining on the third bridge and the final stretches of streets.
Because of that, he said a request may go to the City Council to allow extended hours for Ames Construction to work until perhaps 10 p.m. so the contractor can complete the project this fall. Trowbridge also said public input would be sought on the longer and accelerated work schedule.
In the meantime, crews have had to make a temporary noise wall made of hay bales to help reduce noise in neighborhoods on the west and east sides of the project. The noise is generated by pile driving for the retaining wall supports.
Trowbridge said officials will conduct noise checks over the next month to monitor how well the hay bales contain the sound.
As for the railroad bridges, he said after the decks are poured the concrete will be allowed to cure with rock or ballast then installed. Then crews will lay the tracks.
While the underpass is the most significant project in Moorhead this year, two other major street reconstruction projects start this month, as well as several other projects that won't affect major traffic routes.
Moorhead project updates
- 12TH AVENUE SOUTH: Work from near Concordia College east to Main Avenue is entering its second year and the city hopes it can be completed by late June or early July. Traffic will be detoured to 28th Avenue for most motorists and those visiting businesses in the area can use 16th Avenue. A new mixed-use pathway will be constructed on the south side of the road. Moorhead Public Service is installing a new water main in the area, and Xcel is replacing gas lines.
- 30TH AVENUE SOUTH: The first phase of work is set to start this Monday, May 3, on 30th Avenue South. Construction will take place between 17th Street and 20th Street and is expected to last two months. Through traffic will be detoured on Belsly Boulevard via 14th Street and 20th Street. Business access on 30th Avenue will be maintained throughout the project from side streets with temporary construction roads added when needed. The work involves a reconstruction of the roadway, including work to address ongoing drainage problems. A wider bike and pedestrian pathway will also be built on the southside, adding to the area trail system. The next phase for the project will be from 14th Street to 17th Street with work likely starting in July and finished in September.
- TENTH AVENUE NORTH, 15TH AND 16TH STREETS NORTH: This street rehabilitation and resurfacing project is expected to start May 10. The work involves three blocks on 10th Avenue and four blocks and 15th and 16th streets. A new water main and Xcel Energy gas lines are also being installed in the area.
- SECOND AVENUE NORTH AND 16TH STREET: Work is expected to start May 10 and could last up to two months. The project involves widening one block of 16th Street near Junkyard Brewing Co., 1416 First Ave. N., to allow diagonal parking on the street. On Second Avenue, road rehabilitation work is planned.
- 15TH, 16TH AND 17TH STREETS SOUTH: Crews are scheduled Monday to start resurfacing and road rehabilitation work on 15th, 16th and 17th streets south of Minnesota State University Moorhead. In addition, Moorhead Public Service is replacing some old cast iron water mains and Xcel Energy is replacing shallow gas lines. As a result, some streets will be closed during some construction phases, which should be complete by August.
- 14th STREET NORTH: One block is closed off on the street between Fifth and Sixth avenues for emergency utility work that should be done by this Friday. Motorists will be detoured on 15th Street North.
Fargo project updates
- INTERSTATE 94: The North Dakota Department of Transportation is holding a virtual meeting Tuesday, May 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. on its website, www.dot.nd.gov, to receive public input and comments on a planned improvement project from 25th Street to Interstate 29.
- FOURTH STREET IN FARGO: A portion of Fourth Street South will be closed through July 23 as crews work on upgrades to the Red River Pump Station for the Fargo Water Treatment Plant. One block will be closed between 13th Avenue and 14th Avenue.