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McFeely: Piepkorn, Gehrig find way to bridge the gap

You might want to sit down before reading the rest of this column. I sat down to write it, shortly after picking myself up off the floor when I came to the realization of what needed to be written.

mcfeely flipped.jpg
Forum New Service columnist Mike McFeely

MOORHEAD — You might want to sit down before reading the rest of this column. I sat down to write it, shortly after picking myself up off the floor when I came to the realization of what needed to be written.

Ready?

Set down your coffee. Don't take a sip before you do so because you don't want it spraying out of your mouth.
Here we go.

Ahem.

Fargo city commissioners Dave Piepkorn and Tony Gehrig are both right.

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  • Broadway bridge to be demolished; decision on new bridge delayed Project would be split between Fargo and Clay County in Minnesota

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
But it is true, painful as it is to admit. And being the gracious, classy columnist I am, credit will be given where credit is due.

One time and one time only. So enjoy, boys.

Piepkorn's support of building a new, higher north Broadway bridge over the Red River is the correct stance.

Gehrig's support of improving the 12th Ave./15th Ave. North former toll bridge over the Red River is also the correct stance.

Excuse me while I shower.

It ain't easy to give kudos to these two knuckleheads, who usually make headlines saying or doing stupid things.

Gehrig, in particular, has always been more mouth than substance by opposing everything, offering nothing and doing so with the obstinance of an 11-year-old who didn't get his way. Piepkorn went 'round the bend when Donald Trump was elected, echoing the former president's crude anti-immigration rhetoric and spewing "fake news" anytime something was said he didn't like.

Both have acted at times like immature blockheads, reaching a pinnacle last summer when Piepkorn flipped the bird at Gehrig during commission meeting and accused him of being drunk.

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But on the topic of bridges on the north side of Fargo-Moorhead, they are correct.

Shudder.

The idea of demolishing the north Broadway bridge and not replacing it, even with something at its current height, is bad policy and insulting to north-siders on both sides of the river. Why would you take away a river crossing? We need more bridges, not fewer.

And if we're going to spend $5 million for a replacement north Broadway bridge, why not spend $12 million for one that won't flood as easily? As Piepkorn said: Do it right the first time, and do it once.

As for those who say the bridge is "only" closed a few days when the river rises so it's not worth the extra $7 million to raise it, I have news for you. We're spending $3.2 billion — with a "b" — for a diversion we might need once every 10 years. A few million bucks for a bridge north-side residents use 365 days a year isn't that big of a deal.

As for Gehrig's backing of improving the old toll bridge, he's exactly right. Since the bridge opened for free use years ago, 12th Ave. (Fargo)/15th Ave. (Moorhead) has become a busy and important corridor. The bridge needs to be improved and raised.

Find the money, spend the money.

Piepkorn and Gehrig are both using common sense.

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First time for everything, one supposes.

Mike McFeely
Opinion by Mike McFeely
Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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