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Main Avenue work paves way for box culvert

Work has been progressing at a steady pace on Main Avenue reconstruction, with the most recent undertaking a traffic change so crews can put in place a temporary bridge and flume channel in advance of installation of a new box culvert at the Sheyenne River, just east of Sixth Street West. The culvert will consist of two 12-foot wide concrete openings that will allow the Sheyenne River to flow underneath the Main Avenue roadway.

The flume is being constructed on the east side of the existing river channel to divert water around the site where the permanent box culvert will be established.

In order to accomplish this, a traffic shift occurred Monday, taking the Main Avenue traffic off the frontage road and onto the temporary bridge over the flume on the north side of the Main Avenue roadway. This move allows crews to finish construction of the flume on the south side of the roadway, as well as a temporary bridge for the frontage road to cross over the flume.

A second traffic change is set to occur in approximately two weeks, moving Main Avenue traffic back onto the frontage road, which will then include a temporary bridge over the flume on the south side of the roadway. Once traffic is back on the frontage road and the flume is operational, crews will be able to start work on the new culvert, with the north phase of the work expected to be completed by the end of July. The remaining phase of the work on the culvert will take an additional month or two to complete.

North Dakota Department Transportation Department Senior Project Engineer Joe Peyerl said the construction of the box culvert is becoming more of an increasing factor in the schedule of the project. "There are a lot of things we have to deal with all at once," he said, including building a diversion channel to direct water around the site, the two temporary bridges, as well as dealing with traffic on the roadway.

Speeds are being reduced in the construction zone from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour to accommodate construction crews. Motorists are asked to use extreme caution when driving in this zone. Peyerl said that flaggers are in place to help direct traffic and add to the safety factor. So far, he noted that speed hasn't really been an issue, with only a couple of minor rear-end mishaps reported.

Since work began on Main Avenue reconstruction approximately a month ago, much has been accomplished, with crews removing median guard rail and Main Avenue pavement; installing storm sewers at Sheyenne Street, proceeding east to Center Street; removing signal light poles on Sheyenne, Center, Second and Fourth streets; and doing some minor trenching to prevent water from pooling on the frontage road after rain.

Crews also did preventive maintenance on the frontage road to help improve the pavement conditions in order to support the Main Avenue traffic.

The intersection at Center Street was closed the first week in June from Seventh Avenue North through Main Avenue and remains closed with crews removing and installing sanitary sewer lines followed by storm sewers. Once the underground utilities are completed, grading and base work will begin, followed by paving. Peyerl said that this portion of the work has been right on schedule and going so well that paving could actually begin as early as next week. Once that is complete, Center Street will be reopened again to normal traffic.

Motorists are reminded that driving across private property to avoid construction or to bypass the wait at an intersection is illegal. Flaggers will continue to be present at intersections to help guide motorists through the work zone.

The pedestrian bridge over the Sheyenne River is still open and temporary safety fence has been installed for pedestrian safety at various locations.

More information about the Main Avenue reconstruction, including project maps, detour information and construction updates is available on the Web site at