August 23, 2017
August 08, 2017
Written by Public Works Staff
From West Fargo Pioneer: West Fargo finalizes plan for widening Sheyenne Street, rebuilding I-94 interchange

West Fargo is moving forward with a two-year plan to widen one of its busiest and oldest streets starting in 2018.

The City Commission approved designs for a nearly $61 million reconstruction of Sheyenne Street and the Sheyenne Street-Interstate 94 interchange at its meeting Monday, Aug. 7. Sheyenne Street will be widened to five lanes from 13th Avenue to I-94, six lanes from there to 32nd Avenue East, and four lanes from 32nd Avenue to 40th Avenue.



Public Works Director Chris Brungardt said the city could build the road to six lanes in the stretch from 32nd Avenue to 40th Avenue. But the population and traffic counts are lower in the southern part of Sheyenne Street, so it would only need to be widened from two lanes to four, he said.

Nearby residents also did not support the wider road. "Noise was a concern if you move the lanes out, they didn't want it to feel like a freeway," said Travis Wieber, a project manager with KLJ, an engineering firm hired by the city. "Those were the general concerns."

However, Mayor Rich Mattern said he thought one of the state's fastest growing cities should build the road that leads to Horace larger right away.

"I truly believe Horace will grow a lot faster than anybody thinks," Mattern said. "We have learned our lesson, and the school district has certainly learned its lesson of growth. I'm going to go with the six lanes option."

The widening of Sheyenne Street will be split into three phases, starting in 2018 to be finished by 2019:

• The first phase will construct five lanes of Sheyenne Street from 13th Avenue East to Beaton Drive and will start in 2018.

• The second phase, also starting in 2018, would make Sheyenne Street six lanes between Beaton Drive to 32nd Avenue. A pedestrian underpass at 32nd Avenue will also be built under Sheyenne Street.

• The third phase would start in 2019 and would make Sheyenne Street four lanes from 32nd Avenue to 40th Avenue East, although enough room will be left to expand to six lanes in the future.

As part of the project, the I-94 interchange at Sheyenne Street will be reconstructed by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT). The new interchange will funnel double lanes of traffic through one stoplight in the middle of the interchange rather than having two stoplights on the north and south sides of the interstate, which are there now.

The interchange reconstruction will not be complete until 2019.

Public input meetings on the project were held in late 2016, when many residents said they were concerned about adding pedestrian routes and removing the older, large trees near 13th Avenue. However, Wieber said the design plan was changed to avoid the loss of additional trees.

"We shifted the project to the east to avoid taking out the older, larger trees along Sheyenne Street," he said. "The less mature trees on the east side, near Charleswood, a lot of those will have to go."

The city expects to receive about $10 million in federal funding for the project, and NDDOT will pick up the tab for the interchange redesign.

The City Commission is setting aside some money from a half-cent sales tax passed in 2014 for infrastructure that will be designated for the Sheyenne Street project. The rest of the funding would likely come from special assessments.

City Administrator Tina Fisk said the city is looking at assessing all properties south of I-94 to help fund parts of the city's portion of the cost, about $26 million, which could mean special assessments between $2,000 to $3,000 for the average $100,000 home over 25 years.

Special assessments for multifamily and commercial lots are estimated to be about $10,000 to $20,000 per acre. 

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