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Questions raised over proposed State Avenue overpass

Almost all Dickinson residents agree that their town is in need of a second railroad crossing. But when it comes to the details -- like spur roads after the proposed State Avenue overpass is installed -- it's not so easy.

Upward of 50 citizens filled a City Hall room Tuesday evening for a public input session, and while most agreed the city must do something to ease traffic, business-owners and residents alike brought up serious concerns over where the spur roads would be, and how that would change ease of access.

Currently, the Highway 22 underpass is the only unobstructed north-south crossing of the railroad in the city, creating backups when a train comes through and a headache when the underpass floods.

Some area stakeholders with other ideas for the spur roads brought up the possibility of joining together to present a unified front.

Officials stressed how important citizen input is for the state-funded project.

"They can think of something that we don't see," said Ardin Striefel of the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

But some showed frustration with how public input was gathered.

"I'm not real happy," said Palm Beach Road resident Rick Padilla, adding he didn't know why engineers were asking for public input now when they've been surveying the land since spring.

HDR Engineering's Todd Lang, who presented the plans, repeatedly directed citizens with ideas or concerns to fill out comment cards, and said they'd be taken into consideration.

However, the next time officials hold a public meeting like this one will be in the fall, to present the final design after considering all comments.

Residents and business owners around Palm Beach Road showed concern for the traffic -- like trucks and cars going to the Dickinson Dike -- that would be rerouted on their street.

"The less residential impact you have, the better the city will be," Padilla said.

Terry Ferderer of Mulligan's Catering said he came to get more information on the project, which will like affect his Villard Street business.

Like many at the event, he said the city needs something to ease traffic, but he's concerned about access to his business.

Citizens can mail comments to NDDOT up until Sept. 4 at 608 East Boulevard Avenue, Bismarck, 58505.