The thousands of people who faced delays and detours driving in southwest Fargo and West Fargo will see the end of their traffic concerns within a few days.
The two cities both announced they will be opening new four-lane and six-lane stretches of roadways by this weekend.
Sheyenne Street is slated to open to traffic from Beacon Street — just north of the interchange with Interstate 94 — all the way south to 40th Avenue on Friday, Nov. 1.
The next day, 52nd Avenue is opening from 45th Street South to 63rd Street South.
The Sheyenne Street expansion has been a two-year adventure and Tim Solberg, director of planning and zoning for the city of West Fargo, said he wanted to express as much gratitude as he could to residents who faced congestion and detours over the past two years.
He estimated the number of residents in the neighborhoods along the roadway, as well as those who live in nearby Horace and just on the other side of the Sheyenne River in Fargo, in the 15,000 to 20,000 range.
"So we knew we had to do something with what was a county road before," Solberg said. What he didn't know was how fast the area would grow.
Where a corridor project such as Sheyenne Street can sometimes take up to 10 years from planning to completion, he said they got it done in about four years because of the quickly growing area.
"It was rapid-fire, and we worked on it as fast as we could," Solberg said.
The project, which also included upgrading the street from 13th Avenue to near the interchange, cost about $60 million. Much of that money came from federal funding.
"It's without a doubt the biggest road project we have done in the city," Solberg said.
The newly expanded street, he said, will also help the city's effort to host more retail, commercial, recreational and other mixed-use offerings in that area of town so residents don't have to travel so far. Right along the road, for example, is the new Lights at Sheyenne 32 mixed-use development that includes commercial space, apartments, a restaurant and bar, a 350-vehicle parking ramp and a year-round city plaza.
The roadway also offers new pedestrian and biking paths with connections to other parts of the metro, another of the city's goals.
Some landscaping and other final details on the road will have to wait until next year, but all of the driving lanes should be open by this weekend. Streetlights are going up and signal lights will be operational early this week.
A ribbon-cutting on the street is planned for Monday, Nov. 4.
The rest of Sheyenne Street, from 40th Avenue South to 52nd Avenue South, will continue to be a two-way street for the time being. An expansion is expected in about five years, Solberg said, and they will be monitoring traffic usage in that area in the meantime.
The other major roadway in the area — 52nd Avenue South in Fargo, which connects with Sheyenne Street — is also opening this weekend.
City of Fargo traffic engineer Kevin Gorder said the $19.2 million project is opening about a week ahead of schedule thanks to some fairly nice weather in the past week or two.
Gorder said traffic will be able to use the new roadway starting Saturday, Nov. 2, from end to end. The project involved expanding the road from two lanes to four lanes and building two new bridges over a drainage ditch.
As he was monitoring work this past Friday on the new roadway, he said there were "probably 100 people" along the avenue finishing up the final phases.
Crews were working with the main contractor, KPH, doing road striping, pouring concrete and landscaping while electricians worked on streetlights and signals.
"It's starting to look a lot closer to a finished road," Gorder said.
Because of the wet weather, however, sidewalks along some stretches of the road won't be completed until spring and will be closed for the winter.
By this weekend, however, the avenue will be open from 45th Street to 63rd Street as crews continue working.
As for the rest of the avenue, going west from 63rd Street over the Sheyenne River bridge to Sheyenne Street, construction is still several years away.
In other construction work in the metro:
Village Green Drive in Moorhead: For a week or two, Village Green Drive will be closed from 29th Avenue South to about 300 feet north of the intersection for sanitary sewer repair. Residents in that area will have to use Village Green Boulevard and 30th Avenue South.
Fourth Street South in Fargo: A one-block detour on 4th Street near Lindenwood Park will continue this week and possibly into next week as contractors work on a project for the city's water treatment plant.
Main Avenue in West Fargo: Main Avenue East in West Fargo from Fifth Street to Ninth Street will be reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction starting Monday, Oct. 28, to Friday, Nov. 22, for sanitary sewer construction operations near Eighth Street East. Traffic conditions will be head-to-head during this time. From this Monday to Friday, Nov. 8, the eastbound lanes on Main will be closed with traffic shifting to the westbound lanes head-to-head. Starting Saturday, Nov. 9, traffic will shift to the eastbound lanes.