Noise, traffic at issue: 52nd Avenue South proposal meets skepticism
Noise from trucks whizzing by isn't exactly the funeral music Odell Johnson wants to hear. Yet the Fargo man thinks a proposed road construction project along 52nd Avenue South could triple the amount of truck traffic going past Sunset Memorial G...
Noise from trucks whizzing by isn't exactly the funeral music Odell Johnson wants to hear.
Yet the Fargo man thinks a proposed road construction project along 52nd Avenue South could triple the amount of truck traffic going past Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Johnson, a cemetery board member, was one of about 100 people at a meeting Wednesday night at Shanley High School regarding the 52nd Avenue and Interstate 29/52nd Avenue Interchange roadway reconstruction projects.
Residents had a chance to look at maps before listening to a presentation.
While waiting for the lecture, Johnson and Lorraine Sparke of Fargo worried about how construction would affect access at the cemetery. Trees being cut down and the need to fix water runoff into the cemetery were also discussed.
Sparke, a cemetery volunteer, wanted to know if right-of-way changes would mean graves need to be moved.
Family members don't tend to like that idea, she said.
"It's good that they have these meetings," Sparke said. "This involves a lot of people."
The proposed projects include roadway widening and reconstruction to accommodate current and future traffic demands, according to materials offered by Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson.
The 52nd Avenue project goes from South University Drive to 25th Street. One option, an urban section, has the roadway lower than adjacent properties. Curb and gutter collects storm water.
This minimizes right-of-way needed, but increases the risk of flooding the roadway and snow buildup on the road.
Another option, a hybrid section, has the roadway higher than adjacent properties. The roadway drains to curb and gutter, while adjacent properties drain to roadside ditches.
More right-of-way is needed, but rain and snow are collected in the ditches, not the road.
The alternatives include two driving lanes in each direction, a center turn lane, raised median, new lighting and landscaped boulevards.
Pedestrian/bicycle facilities options were also discussed.
The interchange part of the project goes along 52nd Avenue from 25th Street to Interstate 29. One interchange alternative is to center on the existing alignment, while another is to widen to the north. A third is to shift to the north.
All include replacement of the interchange structure, two driving lanes in each direction, two turning lanes, raised median and new lighting.
Improvements to the interchange are estimated to cost $12 million and would be paid with federal and state funds.
The 52nd Avenue South improvements are estimated to cost $8 million and would be funded with 80 percent federal funds and 20 percent local funds.
Project engineers do not have cost estimates for what this would mean to property owners.
"No decisions have been made at this point," Steve Salwei with the North Dakota Department of Transportation said during the presentation of options. "Your input is important."
Charlotte Brett of Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson has received about 80 written comments regarding the projects. Minimizing right-of-way needs is the biggest concern, she said, to which the city and state are sensitive.
Engineers are working at how they can possibly address concerns, she said.
A public hearing will likely be offered later this summer.
The soonest construction would start is 2007.
Johnson thought the presentation was well done.
"They have really worked hard at including what our comments have been," he said. "We're trying not to be unreasonable."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5557