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Drivers should plan for major road work in F-M area this summer and next

Commuters using the Sheyenne Street and Interstate 94 interchange will soon be faced with finding an alternative route or dealing with what may be slow traffic when construction on the interchange begins on May 14.

Melissa Reichert spokesperson for the North Dakota Department of Transportation said crews planned to begin the two-year project on Monday, May 14.

NDDOT is spearheading the interchange project that will be constructed in conjunction with the city of West Fargo's expansion of Sheyenne Street from 13th Avenue south to 32nd Avenue.

That construction zone extends beyond the interchange, north to 13th Avenue South and south to 32nd Avenue South, as Sheyenne Street is widened and underground infrastructure is upgraded.

Kevin Gorder, an assistant district engineer with NDOT said congestion at that interchange this year and next is a worry.

"Just be patient with us. Plan your route. Give yourself some extra time," Gorder said.

West Fargo is also working with the city of Fargo to reconstruct the heavily traveled 13th Avenue South from Fargo's 45th Street to West Fargo's 9th Street East

"All the businesses will have access," he said. But, "if it's not on your route ... just find an alternative route."

This year, the DOT will replace the westbound lanes of the I-94 bridge over Sheyenne Street. In 2019, the eastbound lanes will get a new bridge.

This year and next will see head-to-head traffic on I-94 through the construction zone.

The loop exit ramp on the northwest side of the interchange, used to head south on Sheyenne Street toward Horace, will be closed this year. That means the ramp on the northeast side of the intersection must handle traffic going north and south on Sheyenne Street, Gorder said.

Night closures are likely for bridge demolition, setting beams and setting larger storm sewer pipe.

West Fargo is widening Sheyenne Street to six lanes, with turn lanes, a raised median and infrastructure replacement to 32nd Avenue South, Gorder said. Another bridge will be added over the West Fargo diversion channel.

North of the freeway, the city will turn Sheyenne Street into two lanes in each direction with a center turn lane.

The work on the interchange and Sheyenne Street south to 32nd Avenue South is expected to cost $42 million, Gorder said. The work on Sheyenne Street from I-94 to 13th Avenue South will cost $5 million, said West Fargo Public Works Director Christ Brungardt.

I-94 and Main in W. Fargo

NDDOT will also be working on the Main Avenue and I-94 bridge this summer. Crews are milling down and replacing the driving surface on the bridge at the intersection of Main Avenue and I-94 on the west side of West Fargo will take much of the summer, though if the $650,000 project proceeds quickly, work will be suspended during the run of the Red River Valley Fair, Gorder said.

As part of the project, the loop ramp for access to eastbound I-94 will close for the summer, he said.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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