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DOT holds forum on coming Villard, I-94 changes

At Tuesday's NDDOT public forum, Kyle Comer, consultant with Civil Services, left, discusses with community member Bernie Marsh planned changes to the Interstate 94 business loop from State Avenue to 10th Avenue East. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

A public forum was held Monday at Dickinson City Hall to gather input and hear concerns about proposed changes to Dickinson's Interstate 94 business loop.

The forum was attended by nearly a dozen community members, along with city staff and Mayor Scott Decker.

The project is being funded by a North Dakota Department of Transportation urban grant.

Dickinson was awarded $2.5 million with the goal of replacing aging lighting infrastructure and emphasis on downtown vibrancy.

"This will be an important cog of that effort," Kyler Comer, project manager with consultancy firm Civil Services, said.

Construction is planned for 2020 along Villard Street, from State Avenue to 10th Avenue East.

The effort will replace old light poles at the end of their service life and update them with new LED light standards.

"It's much more efficient, uses a lot less power and does as good or better a job putting out enough light to improve the corridor," Comer said.

Designs for decorative light poles were shown and maps detailed which light poles along the corridor would be replaced or removed completely.

The functionality of traffic signals was also considered.

The intersection of Villard and Third Street/Highway 22, will be modified, Comer said.

"We're looking at realigning some of the lanes on I-94 so we don't have as much offset of traffic moving through the intersection," he said. "We're looking at narrowing the roadway cross section through the intersection area, to make sure the lines better align and traffic moves more safely and smoothly."

Traffic lights at Sims Street also "warrant consideration." Comer solicited feedback.

"That section doesn't warrant for a traffic signal based on the standard conditions we look for to make sure if a traffic signal should be employed," he said. "It's going to be difficult if it's not warranted to employ federal dollars as part of this project."

No property acquisition is anticipated.

"We're focusing on putting these facilities within the context of the existing right-of-ways and conditions, which is, frankly, a big challenge, because of all the existing buildings, canopies and driveways," Comer said. "But that's our aim and what we're going to accomplish."

Community concerns about how construction would impact parking and accessibility were addressed.

"We're going to spend considerable time in advance of putting the project out to a contractor to consider what is the best way to do that, to minimize impact," Comer said, "but still get the project done, and limit the amount of pain people feel from all that."