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East Grand Forks City Council members discuss obtaining a consultant for intercity bridge project

The consultant would ensure the city doesn't miss any steps when it comes to the intercity bridge project

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

EAST GRAND FORKS – Members of the East Grand Forks City Council on Tuesday discussed directing City Administrator David Murphy to obtain proposals for a consultant to guide the city through the needed steps for an intercity bridge.

Murphy said one of the things that would help with receiving funding from the federal government and the state is to get the project as close to “shovel ready” as possible. By doing so, it would move the project ahead of others for funding.

“With that being said, this is a very large and very complex process. There are a lot of things that are involved in getting a project like this shovel ready for when you're going across the river and you’re going from one state to another state,” Murphy said of the proposed bridge that would be the fourth to connect Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. “There are a lot of moving pieces to it and a lot of things that can be missed.”

And since the last bridge between the cities was built in 1963,
“unfortunately there’s no institutional knowledge and nobody left working in either city that was involved in any of these projects,” he said.

Contracting with a consultant would ensure no steps are missed in the process. It also would ensure the city is using its resources effectively to get the project moving along “with the greatest speed possible,” Murphy said.

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Murphy said he has reached out to other cities to get recommendations on firms that could handle the project. Five firms were brought forward. Murphy suggested doing targeted requests for proposals to get a firm that has been identified as an expert in the particular area of an intercity bridge.

Council member Clarence Vetter shared his support of having a consultant to help with the process, saying it could bring in another level of expertise.

“Hiring this consultant to be able to walk us through that process, maybe even getting a grant to do some of the planning process — which the federal representative alluded to — is going to be money and time well spent on our part,” Vetter said.

In other council news Tuesday:

  • Council members heard an update and a proposed sponsor request for the Grand Riders Bike Share program. The Downtown Development Association is asking the city of East Grand Forks to commit to a sponsorship of $10,000 for the program. Other community partners already committed include Altru, UND and the city of Grand Forks.
  • The council discussed bid results received for Americans with Disabilities Act improvements throughout the city. The scope of work includes ADA curb ramp improvements on 14th Street Northwest at the intersections of Third and Fifth Avenue Northwest, at the intersection of 14th Street Northwest and Highway 220 Frontage Road, as well as sidewalk improvements and some curb, gutter and street reconstruction work. Sidewalk and curb ramp improvements also are needed on Second Avenue Northeast at the intersections of Sixth Street and Seventh Street Northeast, adjacent to Riverview Christian School, with a total of approximately 12 curb ramps between these two intersections. City Engineer Steve Emery recommended council members choose Opp Construction, which had the lowest bid at $175,511.90.
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