The City of West Fargo has decided to delay the Sheyenne Street urban reconstruction project until the 2021 construction season. This project was previously scheduled to reconstruct Sheyenne Street from Main Avenue W. to Seventh Avenue W. in the 2020 construction season. The intention of the project is to create a vibrant downtown space that increases safety and encourages walking, events and economic development in the area.
This section of West Fargo was also examined through the Core Area Infrastructure Study, which was presented to the West Fargo City Commission at the Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, meeting. The results of the study concluded that a more comprehensive reconstruction is necessary within this corridor. To review the executive summary of the core area infrastructure study, visit https://www.westfargond.gov/799/Core-Area-Infrastructure-Master-Plan. This master plan will be worked into the City of West Fargo’s capital improvement plan, which will provide a long-term view of all improvement projects planned in the city.
“The original plans for this project include reconstruction of the street landscape and road design,” said City of West Fargo engineer Dustin Scott. “However, it has become apparent that a full reconstruction of the road, including underground utilities like sewer and water, are also necessary within the next five years.”
The Core Area Infrastructure Study identified this corridor as a high priority for utility replacement and a medium priority for the entire street section. For example, the water main under Sheyenne Street has received spot repairs in recent years but needs to be replaced. Storm water facilities such as pumping stations, underground drains, and retention basins were also identified as high priority items within this area.
“As we look at what the core area infrastructure study is showing us, it doesn’t make sense to proceed with a construction project that doesn’t address these issues,” said Scott. “We’d like to take this opportunity to further evaluate these issues and modify our design to create a project that contributes to the success of the downtown area and provides reliable city services through quality infrastructure.”
While increasing the scope of the project will lead to increased project cost, this delay will not impact the $2.377 million in funding from the North Dakota Department of Transportation Urban Grant program that has been earmarked for this project. This funding is available for the project as long as it is bid by November 2020. The City of West Fargo will also explore additional funding opportunities through the state of North Dakota.
Delaying the project will also allow for the commercial development efforts in the area to progress more efficiently and help to fully realize the walkable, vibrant environment the reconstruction is trying to achieve. This could contribute to an increase in sales tax collected for infrastructure projects.
The delay will also decrease and spread out the impact construction has on the coordination and attendance of community events, such as Cruise Night, the West Fargo Street Fair, and West Fest, which the City of West Fargo is committed to maintaining in downtown West Fargo.