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East Grand Forks City Council members hear updates on consultant for intercity bridge project

The next step in the process will be for council members to authorize an RFP document.

East Grand Forks City Hall
East Grand Forks City Hall. File photo Brandi Jewett/ Grand Forks Herald
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EAST GRAND FORKS – After earlier this year directing City Administrator David Murphy to obtain proposals for a consultant to help guide the city through the next steps for an intercity bridge, East Grand Forks City Council members received an update on the process during Tuesday’s work session meeting.

Since the first discussion on hiring a consultant, a draft request for proposals has been prepared, peer reviewed and submitted to the city. Murphy said the peer review responses were consistent and helpful for finalizing the request for proposals.

The purpose of the consultant would not only be to ensure the city isn’t missing any steps along the way, but also to more quickly get the project shovel-ready.

Some of the work for which the consultant will be responsible is reviewing previously completed studies, including the future bridge traffic impact study and south-end bridge hydraulic study; coordinating with Minnesota and North Dakota’s departments of transportation and any other local, state county and federal agencies to complete any preliminary work; and providing regular updates to the city and also to Grand Forks on the status of work and/or pending work.

Council member Dale Helms said he thinks more discussion with Grand Forks is needed before moving forward.

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“I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves here,” Helms told council members.

While East Grand Forks has been eyeing a south-end bridge to go at 32nd Avenue — and has even purchased 64 acres of farmland for the bridge — Helms said he has heard a potential bridge at 32nd Avenue isn’t as desirable for people on the Grand Forks side.

“That’s what bothers me,” Helms said. “We’re going to pay big money to do all of this and maybe for nothing. We don’t know. We need to have that discussion first, I think.”

Murphy said the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Future Bridge Traffic Impact Ad Hoc Committee, which completed a study earlier this year — receiving public input about the desired bridge location — said the 32nd Avenue location was determined to be more desirable than a bridge at Elks Drive.

Mayor Steve Gander said the 32nd Avenue location has more benefits than the Elks Drive location.

“This was the only location that actually gave the cost-benefit ratio of greater than one,” Gander said. “In other words you’d have a hard time actually funding the other location. I know there are some misgivings about this location — there will be misgivings about any location. We really need the bridge.”

The next step in the process will be for council members to authorize Murphy to distribute the RFP document.

In other council news Tuesday, council members considered approving on-sale weekday and on-sale Sunday liquor license applicant renewals to Little Bangkok and The Spud Jr.

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 719-235-8640 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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