Major Roadway Improvement Project Begins to Wrap Up on South University Drive in Fargo
October 15, 2018
Tonight all six-driving lanes through I-94 interchange will open to area motorists
Monday, October 15, the first major traffic control removals have started in the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) Fargo District and City of Fargo South University Drive and Interstate 94 (I-94) interchange reconstruction work zone.
By this evening, Fargo area drivers will encounter six driving lanes on South University Drive from 17th Avenue South to underneath the interchange to 21st Avenue South in both directions.
When traffic signal work at 18th Avenue South and University Drive intersection is complete tomorrow morning, left-hand turns will be permitted for north and south drivers. Sidewalks will remain closed on the west side of South University Drive from 18th Avenue to under I-94 bridge until the shared-use path is complete on the northwest side of the interchange.
Over the next weeks crews will be working hard to take advantage of decent weather to wrap up work in this zone along with other road projects through the metro. Good weather and warmer temperatures will determine the actual date the new westbound I-94 on-ramp, pedestrian shared-use paths and sidewalks will open on the mainline through the project limits.
Weather permitting, anticipated traffic shifts and project work:
WHAT TO EXPECT WEEK OF OCT 15 – 19:
All six driving lanes will open on the same day
- OPENING – Three driving lanes plus interstate turning lanes in each direction
- OPENING – Northbound median turning lane to west side business driveway
- OPENING – Left-hand turns at 18th Avenue South intersection for both directions
- PROJECT WORK – Crews will continue to work off-line to complete curb, gutter, traffic signals, street lighting, permanent roadway signage and slope protection. Temperatures may allow permanent striping to be placed under traffic for driving lanes and pedestrian crossings toward the end of the week into the following week. The crew will have a moving lane closure around the area of work and use an arrow board to direct traffic.
WHAT TO EXPECT WEEK OF OCT 22 – 26:
Opening of additional sections will be staggered as work is completed
- OPENING – Westbound I-94 on-ramp from South University Drive
- OPENING – Pedestrian crossings and all sidewalk
- PROJECT WORK – Temporary westbound I-94 on-ramp will begin to be removed and area reshaped to carry the remaining section of shared-use path.
The newly constructed South University Drive is now three driving lanes plus interstate ramp turn lanes in each direction. Benefits of the project work include a smoother road surface, better traffic flow through the interchange by reducing unnecessary traffic movements, shared-use path under the interstate ramp for safer pedestrians movements, and improved utilities and lighting along the roadway.
The first roadway removals began in May and project work was anticipated to be complete in September.
“The last time we worked on this corridor was when the interstate underpass was rebuilt about 25 years ago,” said Kevin Gorder, Assistant District Engineer for the NDDOT Fargo District. “When we removed the old concrete roadway we did find some challenging underground scenarios, and on a urban reconstruction project like this one, it’s the layers of underground work driving the schedule, and the completion date. All parties worked with the goal to finish this for the public as quickly as work and weather allowed.”
To keep traffic moving on a roadway being fully reconstructed, the project was designed into four main phases. In the first phases crews works on one side at a time with traffic begin carried head-to-head on the other side of the roadway to maintain connectivity to major travel routes and areas businesses. Most of the project work focused on widening the east part of University Drive.
“Thank you motorists and area businesses for your patience as we know construction zones can be challenging for you,” said Jeremy Gorden, Transportation and Division Engineer for City of Fargo. “With close to 40,000 drivers daily, this stretch of roadway was in serious need of improvement to better carry traffic north to south through our city. Better roads keep people connected to work, friends and family.”
NDDOT funded the project with a majority of federal and state funds. The City of Fargo had participating items for infrastructure improvements.
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