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Published December 15, 2011, 07:57 PM

Grand Forks MPO Planning Major Washington St. Redesign

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The public will get a first look at a plan to reconstruct a large portion of Washington St. The Metropolitan Planning Organization held an open house Thursday night to explain what will take place on the busy street.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The public will get a first look at a plan to reconstruct a large portion of Washington St.

The Metropolitan Planning Organization held an open house Thursday night to explain what will take place on the busy street.

Construction would start at the intersection of Hammerling Ave. and runs to 8th Ave. N. and includes four major project.s

I'm at the intersection of Hammerling Avenue and Washington Street.

Beginning in 2017, the first would be replacing the Washington underpass that just north of Demers.

MPO Executive Director Earl Haugen says that is the most pressing issue because the structure is deteriorating. While it's not a safety concern right now, it could be in the future.

Next would be the reconstruction of Washington from Hammerling to 8th Ave. N. Haugen says all entrances to businesses would be replaced.

"We have a crash problem particularly on the south part where we have a large amount of driveways with a lot of public streets," Haugen said.

Haugen says now is the time for business owners to look at the proposed changes and speak up if they have any issues.

"Either lack of use or other access points to that business could be just closed," Haugen said.

The fourth and final phase is the redesign of one of North Dakota's busiest intersections: Washington and Demers. Haugen says the intersection needs to be upgraded to decrease traffic back-up there. But that project is listed as the least pressing.

"So accustomed to the poor performance perhaps not a huge demand to attack it right away," Haugen said.

The total on the project is $37 million which will be paid for with mostly federal dollars.

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