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Major road projects coming to an end in Grand Forks

Omar Ortegg waters new sod along the North 42nd Street construction project last week in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
Construction continues this week on the North 42nd Street in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

As summer comes to an end, so concludes some of the largest construction projects in Grand Forks.

On North 42nd Street, workers already were pouring concrete over Phase 3 of 4, which runs from Speedway's south driveway to the north side of Fifth Avenue North, City Civil Engineer Principal Mike Yavarow said. The entire project started in May at Gateway Drive, and will finish at University Avenue by the end of October.

"We don't want to be caught at the end of the year with part of the road undone," Yavarow said, recalling a time earlier this summer when workers ran into utility and weather difficulties.

Construction staff picked up the pace this month and already started underground work for the last phase, he said.

The biggest roadblock for this phase, if any, is a sewer line in front of the Fifth Street turn.

"It's just that it's deep," Yavarow said of the sewer, "and we require a certain amount of compaction on top of it."

Because of a railroad crossing farther down 42nd, utility lines under the road for gas and sewer "congest" where crews are working, since these lines can't run past the track, Yavarow said. The project has taken so long mostly because workers are dealing with more utility lines here than any other project, he added.

Yavarow said he can see no significant difficulties other than the weather.

"Just temperature," he said. "Frost has been showing up here and there."

City staff also expect construction on Kennedy Bridge, which began March 2017, to wrap up this year.

Workers began sandblasting and repainting the bridge last month. They'll continue that this month, closing the bridge Tuesday for a week and reopening it Sept. 18.

Unfinished business

City engineers were proud to unveil a smoother Washington Street in August, after a much-needed mill and overlay on one of the city's most beat-up roads was completed.

Alas, one important aspect of Washington remains outdated—its sidewalk ramps. The North Dakota Department of Transportation plans to update these to comply with Americans with the Disabilities Act during the 2019 construction season, from Hammerling Avenue to Eighth Avenue North. The state had planned on completing both projects together in a couple years until the city asked to advance the mill and overlay after a rough, icy winter.

The DOT already has begun the preliminary engineering process for more major projects to take place next year and in 2020, most of which include improved turn lanes and traffic signals on DeMers Avenue, Gateway Drive, Columbia Road and 32nd Avenue South.

Emily Allen

Allen joined the Grand Forks Herald to cover local government and politics May 2018. Call her at 701-780-1102, email her at or follow her on Twitter, @Emily_theHerald.

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