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Published January 29, 2013, 09:28 PM

Grand Forks City Council Concerned About State of Roads, Funding

Construction, maintenance and funding of roads are all a major concern for city leaders in Grand Forks. Future traffic signals on 42nd and repairing damaged roads are some issues which came before the service safety committee this evening.

Construction, maintenance and funding of roads are all a major concern for city leaders in Grand Forks. Future traffic signals on 42nd and repairing damaged roads are some issues which came before the service safety committee this evening.

42nd street will receive a major facelift in the next few years. Eventually three traffic signals will be added, and at some point an overpass on Demers. But right now federal funding for road projects is behind what the city has allocated and it's that which has council members in a bind.

Terry Bjerke, Service Safety Chairman, "We're headed for real dire consequences with roads." Grand Forks has some extensive road projects planned in the future costing millions, like the reconstruction on Columbia Road and now some traffic signal additions on 42nd avenue and all the meanwhile the need to keep them up. But currently, at the federal transportation level the actual money that gets allocated back to the states is less than what the Department of Transportation had planned for.

Al Grasser, City Engineer, "Where we thought we were going to have money, we are being told don't plan on that." Committee Chairman and councilman, Terry Bjerke is worried that even if the state gives Grand Forks the money it needs, it won't help in the long run. Bjerke, "Even if they really go wild I still think it's going to get us back where we are now, we're still behind." Council President Hal Gershman has been wanting to dedicate some sort of sales tax to roads. He explains that with this idea, it's not just people in Grand Forks paying for repairs. Gershman, "You have a lot of people from out of town who use our roads so they participate in having quality roads." City Engineer Al Grasser also brought up the city has had discussions about if the state could offset these federal losses. He said the DOT wasn't too happy about that idea. What action will be taken at this point is unclear but no doubt roads will be a heavy topic of discussion in future meetings.

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