The city engineer for Grand Forks says 2019 is going to be "a big year" for construction.

Using preliminary numbers, Al Grasser told City Council members the budget outlook shows about $4.2 million for locally funded road work in 2019.

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"That's trying to reflect the dollars that we are essentially putting into the road system from the local side only," Grasser said. The outlook he shared excluded the cost of larger, federally-funded projects also scheduled for 2019.

About $2.4 million will come from the city's 80 percent share of special assessment projects; $596,000 will come from the 20 percent share property owners pay; and about $1.2 million will make up projects funded completely by the city using dollars from revenue sources such as sales tax collections.

"And that's for things like upgrading lights, emergency street repairs-both concrete and asphalt-(and) minor intersection improvements," Grasser said. "There's a whole bunch of individual line items. Bike path maintenance. ADA curb ramps."

Regarding federally-funded roadwork, Grand Forks will work with the state Department of Transportation on a reconstruction of DeMers Avenue downtown and University Avenue later this year.

NDDOT also has agreed to provide federal funding for projects to improve turn signals and lanes at various intersections throughout town, including those at Gateway Drive and North 55th Avenue and west ramps along DeMers Avenue.

Additionally, North Washington Street will see a mill and overlay project.

Grasser showed a map of projects over the past decade and a map of projects slated for 2019.

Many of this year's projects will focus on keeping existing roads in a state of good repair. Grasser stressed it's better for the city to spend less money on maintenance projects now than more money on larger reconstruction projects in a few years.

"We're looking at doing an inexpensive technique to try and hold (the streets)," Grasser said, referring to a practice called scrub seal, which may be more cost effective than chip seals the city currently uses for road preservation.

"It's a newer technique and technology, so we want to try it and test it against the old technology," Grasser said. He's currently evaluating neighborhoods that could use the seal and will bring recommendations to the council this spring.

"We still don't have enough dollars to go and address everything that needs to be addressed," Grasser said. "Part of it is that ... we've got a lot of existing things we have to deal with, so we're not able to get everybody's street up to speed in just a couple of years. There's a lot of backlog, so to speak, we're trying to catch up on."