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City of East Grand Forks looks at recently purchased land as possible location for intercity bridge

With the purchase of 64 acres, more studies need to be completed to get an idea of what a potential intercity bridge at 32nd Avenue South would look like

East Grand Forks City Hall
East Grand Forks City Hall. File photo Brandi Jewett/ Grand Forks Herald

EAST GRAND FORKS – Although the city of East Grand Forks recently approved the purchase of 64 acres of farmland for the purpose of building a south-end intercity bridge, the exact amount of land needed for the bridge is unknown.

The land, purchased at an auction back in March for $707,840, was paid for by leftover tax-incurred financing dollars. The 64-acre plot is located off of 445th Avenue southwest from the junction of Bygland Road Southeast and Rhinehart Drive Southeast, about 1.3 miles south of the city.

The land is also located across from Grand Forks’ 32nd Avenue South, a location that has been discussed in East Grand Forks City Council meetings and is a preferred intercity bridge location in a study completed by the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Future Bridge Traffic Impact Ad Hoc Committee.

East Grand Forks City Administrator David Murphy said the purchased the full 64 acres was because the two parcels of land were being sold together by the property owners. The land was separated into two tracts — one is protected by the dike and located within the city’s 2045 Land Use Plan for the potential of development; the other includes cropland and river frontage.

But how much will actually be used to build the bridge — if the bridge is ever built?

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“I would guess probably less than half, but exactly what that amount would be we’re not exactly sure yet,” Murphy said.

City Planner Nancy Ellis said an architectural drawing and engineer’s design of the bridge hasn’t been made yet, making it hard to estimate how many acres will be needed for the bridge.

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If all 64 acres aren’t used for the bridge Murphy said the city would likely sell the remaining land. At present, the city has no plans for developing any leftover land.

“We [the city] typically try not to be in the developer business so we’d probably just open up and sell it for development or whatever they [the buyers] want to do with it,” he said.

The city is in the process of hiring a consultant who Murphy said will help “guide us through the process of getting this project as close to shovel ready as possible.”

A request for proposals has been drafted and will soon go through peer reviews. Once peer reviews are complete, proposals will be accepted from possible consultants.

Murphy said there is still a lot of work that needs to go into the design of a bridge, such as environmental studies and archaeological surveys. The consultant would help guide the city through those as well.

In Grand Forks, City Council members agreed during an April 18 council meeting that more discussion is needed for a south-end intercity neighborhood bridge and where it can be built. During the meeting, council member Kyle Kvamme said he prefers the bridge location to be at Elks Drive as a 32nd Avenue South bridge location would go through neighborhoods and school zones.

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The two city councils plan to have a further discussion on the intercity bridge in a joint meeting in the coming weeks.

Related Topics: EAST GRAND FORKS
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 701-780-1267 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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