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I-94 and 45th Street options detailed

Improvements at the Interstate 94 and 45th Street South interchange in Fargo are being planned to accommodate the area's increased traffic flows. State Department of Transportation plans call for widening the 45th Street bridge over the interstat...

45th street options

Improvements at the Interstate 94 and 45th Street South interchange in Fargo are being planned to accommodate the area's increased traffic flows.

State Department of Transportation plans call for widening the 45th Street bridge over the interstate from four to six lanes to match 45th Street's six lanes. Plans are also being reviewed to handle large traffic flows onto westbound I-94.

Agency officials and consultants presented two construction options Wednesday at a public meeting in Fargo that could address those concerns.

"We're looking at significant growth along this corridor over the next 30 years," said Brian Ray, an engineer with HWS Consulting Group.

The Omaha, Neb.-based company is working with the DOT on the construction plans.

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Kevin Gorder, an assistant district engineer with the DOT, said the project is slated to be completed in 2010, but the date could change.

"If we have something that pops up, we could move the completion date up," he said of potential huge development in the area.

Two options presented Wednesday call for widening the bridge to six lanes. They differ in addressing westbound I-94 traffic:

E One plan calls for building two right-turn lanes for southbound 45th Street traffic heading west onto I-94. This plan would also add two left-turn lanes for northbound traffic onto the same westbound I-94 on-ramp.

E The other plan would add a loop-ramp in the northeast quadrant of the interchange for northbound 45th Street traffic heading westbound onto I-94.

Ray said planners also worked with Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments officials, who helped provide traffic studies.

The department also took written input from meeting attendees and said those comments will be considered when plans are decided on later this year.

John Olson, manager of HOM Furniture, said widening the bridge is a good idea because it could allow better accessibility for store customers coming from the north. HOM Furniture is immediately southwest of the interchange.

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Steve Salwei, a DOT engineer, estimated the project cost at $8 million, with federal money covering 90 percent and the state paying the remaining 10 percent.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Benny Polacca at (701) 241-5504

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