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Busy 13th Avenue reconstruction starts this week in Fargo, West Fargo

Work zone prep work begins on Monday, April 23, 2018, along 9th Street East in West Fargo. David Samson / The Forum1 / 3
Work zone prep work begins on Monday, April 23, 2018, along 9th Street East in West Fargo. David Samson / The Forum2 / 3
Road construction will begin this week at the intersection of 13th Avenue South and Ninth Street East in West Fargo. Another project that will start soon involves rebuilding 13th Avenue South from Fargo's 45th Street to West Fargo's 12th Avenue East. This map shows segments that were rebuilt last summer or will be worked on this year.3 / 3

WEST FARGO — One of this summer's biggest road projects in the Fargo-Moorhead area will soon be underway as the second year of reconstruction kicks off at the intersection of 13th Avenue South and Ninth Street East here.

Setup of orange barrels outlining the work zone began Monday, April 23, but work on the three-phase intersection project will start in earnest Thursday, April 26, West Fargo's Public Works Director Chris Brungardt said.

That job is related to even more work on one of North Dakota's busiest roads — rebuilding 13th Avenue South from 45th Street South in Fargo to 12th Street East in West Fargo.

Work on that project is also expected to start Thursday or soon after and make travel in the area a test of patience for commuters and West Acres-area shoppers until it is finished sometime around mid-October, Jeremy Gorden, Fargo's transportation division engineer, said.

Intersection plans

Work on this year's Phase 1 of the Ninth Street East and 13th Avenue South intersection project will start on the east side of Ninth Street from Seventh Avenue extending to 14th Avenue. It will add about a half mile of northbound lane to improve traffic flow to West Fargo High School.

The east side of the road will be closed and traffic will be diverted to driving one lane in each direction on the west side of the street.

In Phase 2, the west side of Ninth Street East from Seventh Avenue to Meyer Boulevard will be closed for work. Traffic will be diverted to one driving lane in each direction on the east side of the street.

In Phase 3, the east and west sides of Ninth Street East will be open to traffic and crews will work in the center of the street to complete median and turn-lane construction.

Work is expected to be completed around the first week of July, Brungardt said on Monday.

This is the second year of major work for the intersection. Last year, work on the intersection of Ninth and 13th included widening the intersection and adding double left-turn lanes in each direction. Reconstruction of 13th Avenue South took place between Prairie Parkway to the west and 12th Street East on the east side, Brungardt said.

The intersection at one time was one of the top five in the state for accidents, according to Brungardt. Completion of the project will include setting traffic signals to provide protected left-hand turns in each direction, he said.

The two-year project cost is $5 million, with this year's work making up about $2.15 million of that, Brungardt said.

13th Avenue

The $9.4 million reconstruction of 13th Avenue South from Fargo's 45th Street to West Fargo's 12th Street East will include a new six-lane roadway in Fargo and three lanes westbound and two lanes eastbound in West Fargo. Above and below-ground infrastructure improvements are also planned throughout the project area.

During the project, 13th Avenue will remain open, with one driving lane open in each direction throughout construction. Business driveways will remain open or accessible by alternative routes, while cross-street intersections will have intermittent closures during work.

Brungardt said traffic will keep moving, but "it's just going to be slowed down."

Brungardt and Gorden encourage drivers to do much of their east-west driving on alternate roads like Seventh Avenue South or 17th Avenue South.

A traffic signal has also been installed at the intersection of Seventh Avenue South and 45th Street, Brungardt and Gorden said.

"We're trying to get some parallel routes so traffic can peel off on a different road and get to a different destination," Brungardt said.

Gorden said the city of Fargo is adjusting signal timing to improve traffic flow through the construction zone.

"Our signals will be a little smarter than normal," Gorden said.

Gorden said this spring's cool start hasn't delayed the road construction season.

"This spring was colder than normal, but this is about the average start," Gorden 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 education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

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