Main Avenue and 2nd Street South Intersection Opens as Roundabout Today
October 9, 2019
For the last six months, contractors for North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) and City of Fargo have completed multiple phases of the first year of the Main Avenue makeover, and work is nearing completion. The contractor, Dakota Underground, is nearly two weeks ahead of schedule for finishing this last phase of 2019 work.
Today, October 9, at 1:30 p.m. crews reopened the Main Avenue and 2nd Street South intersection as a two-lane roundabout and additional travel routes in downtown Fargo. Motorists and pedestrians will encounter:
- Veterans Memorial Bridge OPEN to east – west traffic
- 2nd Street North underpass OPEN to north – south traffic
- Shared use path OPEN through the roundabout and on both sides of Veterans Memorial Bridge
With the opened roundabout, the 2nd Street South exit turn will remain closed initially to through traffic. The adjacent City of Fargo flood mitigation project remains active on the south leg of 2nd Street South. Weather permitting, work is slated to be complete in October.
“While we were upgrading old underground services and improving the deteriorating roadway surface of Main Avenue, the safe accessibility to businesses through temporary pedestrian walkways and driveways was a high priority for our teams with the road closed,” said Joe Peyerl, NDDOT Assistant District Engineer. “We encourage drivers to return to their regular driving routes down Main Avenue to enjoy the additional accessibility you’ll encounter through the corridor with the first year complete.”
RECONSTRUCTED MAIN AVENUE AND DRIVER BENEFITS
Between the Red River to Broadway intersection, Main Avenue will operate as three-lane arterial road with upgraded pedestrian facilities, 78 on-street parallel parking spaces and a two-lane roundabout at 2nd Street South intersection. The speed limit is 30 mph.
Additionally, motorists will benefit from the dynamic messaging system that is being installed on the north side of the Main Avenue Veterans Memorial Bridge. The overhead sign will alert drivers that a railroad crossing will soon be initiated and allow motorists to make the decision to use one of the three underpasses instead. This will be operational later this year.
NAVIGATING THE TWO-LANE ROUNDABOUT AND SAFETY BENEFITS
The downtown Fargo two-lane roundabout, where drivers will travel counterclockwise around a center island without use of traffic signals or stop signs, will be first of its kind in North Dakota.
“The roundabout is expected to not only improve current traffic flow and decrease congestion, but also accommodate the increased traffic and development the area anticipates long-term,” said Jeremy Gorden, City of Fargo Transportation Division Engineer. The new intersection design will also benefit drivers by:
- Eliminating the rate of high-speed crashes
- Accommodating vehicles and trucks of all sizes
- Increasing safety for all travelers, including pedestrians
Gorden added, “although single lane roundabouts are not new in North Dakota or difficult to learn how to navigate around, this roundabout design features two lanes instead of one around the traffic circle. If you’re traveling eastbound on Main Avenue and wish to use the 2nd Street North underpass, you’ll use the inside, second lane to stay left and continue to the exit turn. If your travel is east – west on Main Avenue, you’ll just stay in either of the two lanes between the two downtown areas.”
Additional tips for driving through the two-lane roundabout:
- Slow down when approaching the intersection
- Yield prior to entering the flow of traffic if vehicles are present in the circle
- Enter to the right and travel in a counterclockwise direction to your exit turn
- If you miss your exit turn, never stop. Continue counterclockwise around the roundabout until you’ve reached your exit.
- When exiting the roundabout, you will always make a right-hand turn at your exit.
REMAINING PROJECT WORK
Crews will be working on landscaping in the southeast 2nd Street South intersection through October. Based on manufacturing schedules, temporary traffic signals were installed at 4th Street South and Broadway intersections. The permanent traffic signals will be installed in the spring as well as additional landscaping throughout next summer in the first phase project limits.
The two-year makeover of Main Avenue in downtown Fargo is a joint project between the NDDOT and City of Fargo to transform this gateway into a safe, accessible and beautiful passageway to and through the heart of Fargo.
The project is improving 50 – 60-year-old underground infrastructure, an aging driving surface and lessen the pedestrian system gaps through the downtown corridor.
The $10.29 million project work from the Red River through Broadway in 2019 included:
- Upgraded existing water main, sanitary sewer system and storm sewer
- Constructed the 2nd Street South and Main Avenue roundabout
- Replaced roadway pavement, traffic signals, street lighting and landscaping features
- Widen pedestrian facilities on both sides of Main Avenue, with new pedestrian crossings
- Added 78 on-street parallel parking spaces, where previously had been four on-street spaces available.
In 2020, the second year of reconstruction work will improve roadway and underground of Main Avenue between Broadway to University Drive and will add 50 on-street parallel parking spaces on both sides of the road. A counterflow lane on University Drive between Main Avenue and NP Avenue North will be added as part of the project work.
A redevelopment and economic analysis was performed to compare redevelopment potential along Main Avenue. When the roadway is complete next fall, Main Avenue will be a hybrid design consisting of a 3-lane alternative from 2nd Street to 9th Street, transitioning to a 4-lane section between 9th Street and 11th Street, and a 5-lane section west of 11th Street as well as double-lane roundabout at the Main Avenue and 2nd St S intersection.
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