Today, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) Director Bill Panos, Deputy Mayor and Fargo Commissioner Dave Piepkorn, along with representatives from the offices of Senator Hoeven, Senator Cramer, Representative Armstrong, and other state and local officials celebrated the completion of the first phase of the Main Avenue reconstruction with a ribbon cutting event in downtown Fargo.
“This project has transformed a busy thoroughfare with aging infrastructure into a smart, efficient and pedestrian-friendly passageway through downtown Fargo that improves retail access and walkability to create a healthier, more vibrant city,” said Gov. Doug Burgum. “We deeply appreciate the public’s input into the project’s design and the collaboration among the many partners who made it a success.”
The two-year makeover of Main Avenue is a joint project between the NDDOT and City of Fargo to transform this gateway into a safe, accessible and beautiful passageway to and through downtown Fargo. The project is improving 50 – 60-year-old underground infrastructure, an aging driving surface and lessen the pedestrian system gaps through the downtown corridor. The first year focused on Main Avenue between the Red River and Broadway intersection and the second year will reconstruct Main Avenue between Broadway to University Drive.
“Today we want to give a big thank you to our NDDOT Fargo District engineers, City of Fargo engineers, project managers, consultants, prime contractor and sub-contractors,” said NDDOT Director Bill Panos. “Your individual and team efforts helped to complete this first phase ahead of schedule, even through multiple project phases and numerous weather events this construction season and helped the NDDOT in meeting the transportation needs of this community.”
Project work began on Wednesday, April 17, and Main Avenue fully opened on Wednesday, October 8. Main Avenue operates as three-lane arterial road with upgraded city-wide underground utilities, wider pedestrian facilities and 78 on-street parallel parking spaces were added between Red River and Broadway this year. A two-lane roundabout was built at Main Avenue and 2nd Street South intersection, a first of its kind in North Dakota.
Roundabouts have been shown to reduce high speed crashes and improve traffic flow compared to traditional intersections with other types of traffic control. Motorists should be aware of the new driving pattern through the two-lane roundabout and remember to yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
“The goal in reconstructing Main Avenue was to provide an opportunity for an enhanced business environment and an active pedestrian environment that worked together with a safe and efficient transportation corridor for regional traffic needs,” said City of Fargo Assistant City Engineer, Tom Knakmuhs. “We are happy to say that we met that goal, and certainly could not have done it without our partnership with NDDOT, the hard work of the project contractors, subcontractors, engineers and inspectors, and patience from the public.”
When the roadway is complete in fall of 2020, the hybrid design will consist of a 3-lane alternative from 2nd Street to 9th Street, transitioning to a 4-lane section between 9th Street and 11th Street, and a 5-lane section west of 11th Street. A counterflow lane will be also added to University Drive between Main Avenue and Northern Pacific Avenue North. Additional motorists will benefit from multiple dynamic messaging system signs installed on the east and west end of the project limits. The overhead sign will alert drivers that a railroad crossing will soon be initiated and allow motorists to make the decision to use one of the three underpasses for continued travel.
In total, approximately $28 million will be invested into the Main Avenue corridor with federal, state and city funds across the two-years of improvements planned between the Red River to University Drive.