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Main Avenue officially opens

North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Francis Ziegler speaks Monday during the Main Avenue dedication ceremonies as dignitaries Kent Campbell from the West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, N.D. Gov. John Hoeven and West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern take part in the celebration at Sandy's Donuts. David Samson/The Forum1 / 2
From left, Donny Becker, Joe Hedin and Matt Larson of Northstar Safety bolt up the sign at the intersection of Main Avenue and Center Street Monday before the Main Avenue dedication ceremonies in West Fargo. David Samson/The Forum2 / 2

North Dakota Governor John Hoeven was in West Fargo on Monday afternoon for the ceremony marking the completion of the first phase of Main Avenue reconstruction stretching from 6th Street West to 5th Street East, with all segments of the roadway now officially open to traffic.

The end result is a widened Main Avenue along with easier access to the adjacent businesses, with the elimination of frontage roads and the addition of diagonal parking spaces instead.

Also participating in the dedication, which took place on the corner of Main Avenue and Sheyenne Street in the Sandy's Donuts parking lot, were West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern, North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Francis Zeigler, Kent Campbell of the West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, representatives of the state's congressional delegation, as well as District 13 Senator Judy Lee, and Representative Alon Wieland.

Hoeven described the occasion as a "great step forward for the city of West Fargo. This is very important. A growing, dynamic community needs infrastructure for support and to continue to grow."

He also referenced the 'great partnership' between federal, state and local officials, that resulted in the realization of the $11.6 million project which is the centerpiece of a much larger $43 million project to be completed in two additional phases - the next extending east from 5th Street to 45th Street; and the third and final phase going west from the Sheyenne River Bridge to the Interstate. Respective construction dates are set at 2012 and 2015.

Hoeven thanked all entities involved with the work for their understanding and patience, in particular, the merchants doing business along the construction route for putting up with the challenges of the first construction phase, reminding everyone that "with short-term pain there is long-term gain.'

Ziegler said it was "great to be here today to celebrate this project." He noted that Main Avenue was initially built in 1956, with maintenance work completed in the 1970s and nothing else addressed since then. "I hope this new project will last just as long," he said, before thanking everyone for their "partnership, collaboration, and cooperation" in a job well done, including the assistance and support of community businesses and residents.

West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern also thanked everyone for their efforts, specifically NDDOT officials on the scene daily, saying he is looking forward to the new, improved conditions in West Fargo's former downtown area due to the completion of the first leg of Main Avenue work, as well as opportunities afforded by the Renaissance Zone program. "Because of this, we can maintain a vibrant Main Avenue corridor." He also mentioned the city's 'phenomenal' growth the past decade, saying the completion of such projects as Main Avenue and the 9th Street Interchange "will change the face of our vibrant community forever, one we are proud to call 'the city on the grow.'"

West Fargo's share of costs for this first phase of Main Avenue reconstruction was $2.4 million, with the remainder funded by the state and federal partners. Of the city's share, $2 million will be funded through sales tax dollars, and the rest through special assessments.

Contractors for the project included: Dakota Underground, Co., (prime), Industrial Builders, Inc., AJ Construction, Inc., F-M Fence, NorthStar Safety, Inc., Fritz Electric, Superior Sawing and Sealing, Swanston Equipment, CPM, Inc., Central Specialties, Inc., and North Core.

A little bit of aesthetic work will continue into November to complete the project, i.e. landscaping, signal light work and other final elements.