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City works to resolve overpass problem

Kevin Gorder, representing the North Dakota Department of Transportation, provided an update at the West Fargo City Commission meeting Monday night on the 9th Street and I-94 overpass work, where the surcharge (dirt filling) project developed major dirt slides a couple of weeks ago, one on the south and two on the north side.

The issue was discussed at the Commission meeting two weeks ago with the consensus Gorder would be present Monday night with a progress report.

The surcharge project that began on the overpass in late June involved placing approximately 800,000 yards of extra dirt on the overpass embankment for the purpose of forcing the ground to settle. Then the dirt will sit for a year so it can settle, in preparation for the beginning of the actual overpass construction.

Gorder told Commissioners that officials from Braun Intertech, West Fargo, a geotechnical firm, will be visiting the site to do some drilling in efforts to pinpoint the failure and then come up with a solution. He said the consensus is that the problem with the shifting was in the existing dirt, not in the area of the new loads hauled in. "We are speculating that it was below the existing dirt. We are hoping the boring will tell us that."

As for work on the site right now, Gorder said the surcharge is being removed to relieve the pressure on the soil so it can stabilize and firm up. The dirt is being relocated to the sides so it can be used as the project continues to move forward.

City officials are hoping this recent activity doesn't slow down action for the overpass construction. The next phase of the project was set to be bid next month, but Gorder said that will more than likely now occur in February. He said he didn't think the current situation would delay the project and that the overpass should still be able to be fully opened by mid-November of 2008.

When asked about cost for the present work, Gorder estimated $50,000 to $100,000. As for who will pay for it, he said that would need to be discussed with the partnering entities involved, the NDDOT, West Fargo and Fargo.

In the meantime, Gorder will keep the Commission posted on any additional news regarding the site and will report back to them in a month's time with another update on the progress at the site.

In other action, the Commission:

-following a public hearing, approved a liquor license application transfer to Robert and Peggy Kringlie, the new owners of the Speedway Restaurant, 680 W. Main Ave.;

-gave final plat approval and approval of a Planned Unit Development amendment to Lynn Jalbert, Northern Grain Equipment, for expansion of a grain equipment business in Gateway 2nd Addition, along the West Main Avenue frontage road, west of 21st St. NW. The applicant owns two lots and wants to subdivide a portion of one of the lots and sell it to the adjacent property owner. Earlier this year a plat for Gateway 2nd Addition was reviewed and approved for the adjacent property owner, but the plat was never recorded. Consequently, this time both areas are being combined into the same plat. Northern Grain intends to build a 90'x200' addition to their existing building;

-okayed final plat approval for a replat of Goldenwood 4th Addition that will convert six existing twin home lots into five single family home lots for sale and development. The request was made by Homeland Developers for property located north of 12th Avenue NW and west of Cass County Highway 17;

-approved a Conditional Use Permit for an off-premise sign for the West Fargo Park District at their offices at 500 13th Ave. W., and acting as the Board of Adjustment approved a variance to increase the sign height from 8 feet to 14 feet 6 inches. A business recently donated their animated message center to the Park District, who had to apply for the CUP in order to utilize it because off-premise signs are considered conditionally permitted uses in the Public Facilities Zoning District;

-awarded the bid for a new truck lift for the City to Berg Auto Supply, Fargo, with a low bid of $50,959.79.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 5, in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.