Officials plan to study whether Ninth Street East, one of West Fargo's main north-south roadways, needs future improvements as the city continues to grow.
West Fargo and Metro COG held an open house Thursday, June 13, to invite the public to discuss studying the needs of the road from Seventh Avenue South to 12th Avenue Northeast.
The West Fargo 9th Street Corridor Study, extending from Seventh Avenue East to 12th Avenue Northeast, will evaluate different alternatives for management of existing and future traffic flow, with discussion on alternative land configurations, access management, intersection control options, alternative intersection designs, bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, transit needs and potential impacts to intersecting streets.
West Fargo's Ninth Street runs from 12th Avenue Northeast to Interstate 94. South of Interstate 94, the road is considered Veterans Boulevard and divides West Fargo and Fargo on the east side of Veterans Boulevard, south of I-94.
"It's a pretty vital north and south corridor to the area," Brent Muscha, project manager with Apex Engineering. "We have to step back and look at any long-term or short term needs of this area."
Officials will also take into consideration whether more trees should be planted or other types added along the road. Most trees along Ninth Street are ash trees, which can be susceptible to emerald ash borer disease. There are very few trees in the industrial area of Ninth Street.
South of Main Avenue to Seventh Avenue East, the road passes by the West Fargo City Hall and West Fargo High School. Muscha said adding some aesthetic enhancements to the corner of Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue, where City Hall and police headquarters is located, would be considered.
Traffic engineer Kate Miner said traffic will also be studied to determine if the road should be reconstructed or widened in the future to better handle projected traffic volumes or for safety measures. Current daily traffic ranges from 3,035 to 9,930 vehicles per day between Seventh Avenue and 12th Avenue North.
Miner said a two-lane road will carry about 10,000 cars per day and a three-lane road can carry about 18,000 cars per day.
"What we're going to do with these counts is look into the future," Miner said. She estimated that the study will look at what traffic would likely be like in 2040 to decide if the road should be widened in the future to accommodate traffic.
North of Main Avenue to 12th Avenue Northeast, the road is considered a rural two-lane roadway and is surrounded by mostly industrial and agricultural land, with a mainline railroad crossing near Seventh Avenue Northeast.
In 2017, work on the intersection of Ninth and 13th Avenue South included widening the intersection and adding double left-turn lanes in each direction. In 2018, the intersection of Ninth and Seventh Avenue was also widened.
The Ninth Street and 13th Avenue intersection at one time was one of the top five in the state for accidents, according to West Fargo Public Works Director Chris Brungardt.
The study will stretch through August and then a second public meeting with some possible changes would be held in September.
Any projects would then be presented to the City Commission in October or November, when the final study will be submitted.
Written comments can be sent to Apex Engineering Group, Attn: Brent Muscha, 4733 Amber Valley Parkway S., Fargo, ND 58104, by email Brent.Muscha@apexenggroup.com with "Public Meeting" in the subject heading.
Residents can also take a survey to help address the future needs of the road at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WF_9th_Street