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Roundabout or stoplight may come to Dickinson intersection

The North Dakota Department of Transportation and the city of Dickinson hired Civil Science Inc. to lead a design team to complete the design for improvements and potential widening along the I-94 Business Loop. Depending on funding, construction could begin in the spring of 2018. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)

By the end of 2018 Dickinson residents may have an easier time getting around the Interstate 94 east Business Loop.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation and the city of Dickinson hired Civil Science Inc. to lead a design team to complete the design for improvements and potential widening along the I-94 Business Loop. Depending on funding, construction could begin in the spring of 2018.

The cost of the project would be broken up between multiple levels of government, with federal government giving 80 percent of the funds toward the project and the city and the state each providing 10 percent of the funds. There is currently $9.4 million budgeted for the project, depending on the final plans it could cost between $8.35 million and $11.18 million.

Other than a "no build" option, Kyle Comer, the project manager, said the company has offered two ideas to potentially help decrease the amount of accidents and traffic build-up along the stretch of road. The first option is add a roundabout at the 10th Avenue East intersection. The second option includes a four-leg signal at the same intersection. Both would include a realignment of East Villard Street.

In addition to those options, the company said the intersection at 18th Avenue East also warrants a signal. They are also talking about the potential of adding left and right turning lanes along the stretch of road, which could help improve the flow of traffic. There have also been talks of adding a shared-use path, which would be for people walking and biking, as well as adding additional lighting along the road and shared-use path.

Ryan Ernst is the co-owner of Floor to Ceiling Carpet One, which is located on the I-94 Business Loop. Ernst believes the project is a "good idea" that may help decrease the number of traffic accidents, particularly near 10th Avenue East.

"Everyone knows that intersection has been a pain for a long time, so either adding a stop light or a roundabout there I think will help you get through that intersection a lot quicker," he said. "The thing I like probably the best is having a center turn lane because every time you try to turn left on Business Loop east, traffic comes to a stop."

He said a traffic light may be a better choice for the 10th Avenue East intersection because people may not be as familiar with a roundabout.

"I fear that people may be unfamiliar with a roundabout and there's a lot of semi traffic out there too so having a semis through a roundabout might be a disadvantage," Ernst said. "I think the stop light option might be the best bet."

Dickinson Assistant City Engineer Loretta Marshik said while she hasn't been involved with the project fully until recently, the city wants the project to be good for everyone.

"We really like the opportunity it brings forward," she said. "We want to give input that keeps with our comprehensive plan and work with the DOT to do a project that's going to benefit everyone in the community."

She said the city has been discussing quite a bit about what type of intersection would be best for the city.

"I think the roundabout is what the city has really looked at," she said. "They work really well, there's always personal opinion one way or another, but they really tend to keep traffic flowing. Once people get used to the movement it seems that they receive it better once it gets going."

If you were not able to attend the meeting, written statements or comments must be mailed by May 5, 2017, to Kyle Comer, Project Manager, Civil Science Inc. 193 24th St. E, Suite 101, Dickinson, ND 58601, 701-483-2800 ext. 139. Or email comments@civilscience.com with "Public Input Meeting" in the email subject heading.

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook started working as the multimedia editor for The Press in January 2016.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

(701) 456-1207
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