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Commission endorses plan for State Avenue railroad overpass

State Avenue will go over, not under the railroad.

As Dickinson grows, the need for a second place to cross the railroad when trains are traveling through the city has become more and more apparent.

During its regular meeting Monday at City Hall, the Dickinson City Commission endorsed a plan for the proposed overpass. The plan is not final and the recommendation must go to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

"I'm pretty sure that I can get some two-dimensional plans put together that I can bring forward and present to the commission probably relatively soon," City Engineer Bill Watson said.

The preferred option allows travelers access to the overpass with two lanes traveling in each direction. A four-foot median would separate the north and southbound lanes, but the median would make way for left turn lanes.

Things may change a bit for business in the area, but Watson wanted to make sure businesses weren't disturbed too much.

"The recommendation is to approve that cross section that I recommended, actually, in the area of State Avenue and Villard (Street) so that project could successfully pass the old bowling alley without having to take that building as part of the right-of-way," Watson said.

The Medicine Shoppe pharmacy recently moved to the Classic Lanes building at the corner of State Avenue and Villard Street.

"The businesses on the west side of the road -- we will be providing access from the rear of those businesses -- the church and the UPS building," Watson said.

The other options would require the city to take possession of the Classic Lanes building.

"I think option three is the only thing that makes sense," Commissioner Gene Jackson said. "When this thing gets built, it's going to look really good."

The present members of the Commission approved to endorse the option unanimously. Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns was not present.

Right of way

construction permits

Watson asked the Commission to approve requiring a permit be issued to any party wishing to do work in the city's right of way.

"Right now, we have contractors all over the city that are building any number of things in our right of way and we have no idea that they were there, are there or have been there," Watson said. "And, in a lot of cases, the construction is not what I would call responsible, and we're having issues with trenching caving in and zero compaction and the street going bad."

The permit would apply to anyone doing work in the city's right of way, including water and sewer taps, curb and gutter work, and utility work, Watson said.

"Any contractors are going to have to check in with the city to make sure that we're aware that they're there," Watson said.

While the details are still being ironed out, there would be a fee, a deposit or both attached with the permit to help with the cost of the to-be-formed construction management team, which would inspect the work.

"The contractor is actually going to end up paying for us to inspect his construction," Watson said. "So the better he is at constructing infrastructure for us in our right of way, the less his fee's going to be."

Jackson worried the turn-around time for the permit might delay construction, but Watson said it should be short -- five working days or less -- for projects that already have approval with the city.

"We've got to keep things moving in the city," Jackson said.

The projected start date for the permit would be Aug. 5. There was no action taken at Monday's meeting.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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