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Winter out, road construction in: Work on Villard Street expected to last until fall

Construction began on Villard Street last week, which includes work to the curbs as well as milling and overlay, creating a smother driving surface. During this time, Villard Street will be reduced to one lane while workers are present. Alternative crosstown routes to Villard Street are First and Second streets north of the railroad and Broadway Street south of the railroad.

An old joke says North Dakota has two seasons: winter and road construction. With winter's apparent retreat, road construction can get underway.

Crews have been working on curbs and sidewalks along Villard Street in Dickinson since May 1. The road is also set to be repaved this summer, similar to work completed along Third Avenue last year.

"The contractor, right now, is proposing nighttime paving," said Thomas Grimm, office manager for Dowl HKM, the firm providing the construction engineering services for the North Dakota Department of Transportation. "From 10th Avenue East up to Interstate 94 -- that was planned for night paving -- but they would like to pave it all in the evening."

The project will take place in two phases. The first is curb replacement on the sidewalks. The second will be placing new overlay along the entire 5-mile stretch of Villard Street, from Exit 59 to Exit 64, NDDOT spokeswoman Jamie Olson said.

Milling and paving will be done in two phases, Grimm said. The first starting mid-May with the second in mid-June. That part of the project could be completed as early as July 1, but the addition of concrete collars around the manhole covers could take longer, as they were not part of the original design for the project.

It is estimated to cost $3.5 million and Northern Improvement, with offices in Bismarck, Dickinson and Fargo, will be completing the work.

The sidewalk is set to be done by the end of May, and the overlay is expected to last until fall, Olson said.

Alternative crosstown routes to Villard Street are First and Second streets north of the railroad and Broadway Street south of the railroad.

The Villard Street project is the first of many that will be completed this summer.

Tenth Avenue West is set to be expanded north to service growth in northwest Dickinson and 12th Street from Queen of Peace Parish to Third Avenue East will be reworked and overlaid, like Villard Street.

Empire Road, also known as 10th Street, will be realigned and will not be connecting with the bypass.

Not all needed road projects have been given a green light as the city experiences growing pains in some developments.

A road may have to be left unpaved in the Fisher subdivision in east Dickinson because of the way the project was bid by the developer, City Attorney Matthew Kolling said during a discussion at Monday evening's Dickinson City Commission meeting at City Hall.

"One of the difficulties we encountered is when the developer bid the project, their bidding process did not comply with state law as far as notifying contractors, and it would not be possible to put public money into that to make that a larger project because we simply have to comply with state statutes," he said.

This may leave an unpaved through street at 15th or 16th Avenue East.

"I think this is going to come back to haunt us," Commissioner Gene Jackson said. "I think we should keep trying to find a way to move forward."

Commissioner Shirley Dukart agreed.

"We shouldn't be annexing any more properties until we service the ones we have," she said. "If we're going to have dirt roads with all that traffic over on the east side with those apartment buildings and the new twin homes that are going in, it's not going to be a good thing."

The city could create a special assessment zone in the area to eventually pay for the pavement, City Administrator Shawn Kessel said. The city would have to front the money and it is out of oil impact funds.

The issue will be brought to the Dickinson City Commission at an upcoming 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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