Macro Level

Posted by chrislharris chrislharris


EDIT (10-20-16) Link to videos depicting future congestion issues in study area.

As outlined in previous reports, future population, employment and subsequent traffic growth is projected to dramatically increase congestion at many of the key I-29 interchanges over the next 20 years. Without added capacity or new infrastructure, the interchanges at 32nd Avenue, DeMers Avenue and Gateway Drive will experience several minutes of delay, long queuing onto mainline interstate and subsequent safety issues associated with these problems.


As a key component to the I-29 Corridor Study, a myriad of major infrastructure scenarios were studied to alter traffic patterns and ease congestion at existing interchanges. The focus was on major improvements such as new grade separations above/below I-29, new interchanges to access I-29 and new river crossings across the Red River to reroute traffic.


Below is a snapshot of the findings from the Macro-Level Alternatives Report and Executive Summary which can be found in the Reports section of the website. The reports includes a variety of additional insight and analysis on these topics.

• River Crossings – Red River crossings at 32nd Avenue and Merrifield Road were found to provide great benefit to the region as a whole but did little to improve forecasted congestion on I-29 and were not carried forward as part of this study. These improvements should be studied further with projects not focused on the interstate system.

• Grade Separations (over/underpasses) – grade separations were studied at 17th Avenue, 47th Avenue and 62nd Avenue. The cost of these improvements outweighed the benefits in the near-term and were not carried forward as part of this study. It is possible that these improvements will provide greater benefits in future years as development continue to increase and growth patterns evolve.

• New Interchanges – new interchanges at 47th Avenue and Merrifield Road (County Road 6) were found to provide tremendous value to the region. 47th Avenue in particular was found to reduce congestion at 32nd Avenue to point where the 16 million dollars’ (2016 dollars) worth of improvements on 32nd Avenue could be mitigated. Merrifield Road provided a major reduction to regional vehicle miles travelled. 62nd Avenue was studied as a possible interchange location but this location had limited benefits with similar costs to 47th Avenue and was not identified as a cost effective solution in the near term.

• Multiple/Split Interchanges – by 2040, it was identified that implementing both 47th Avenue and Merrifield Road interchanges would be a cost effective improvement strategy. The opportunity to split the two interchanges so 47th Avenue supported traffic to/from the north and Merrifield Road to/from the south was also identified as a cost effective solution. However, this alternative is considered a backup plan if more traditional configurations cannot be achieved.


What are your thoughts? Which infrastructure improvements do you believe will be most beneficial? Please provide comments in the following way;
• In the comments section of this article below.
• In the Comments Tab of the website to be sent directly to the project team.

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Doug Iverson Doug Iverson
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Re: Macro Level

     Speaking on behalf of a number of people, we appreciate the fact that this is being looked into and not tabled until it's too late.  I wish to convey our desire to have one of these interchanges done asap, whether it's 47th or Merrifield.  I/we would most like to see the Merrifield Rd interchange.  I am the GM of the Grand Forks Country Club and it would immensely help us with the decent number of out of town golfers (and party-goers)  that ask for directions to get to us.  Before 12th Ave NE was paved between Washington and KNOX we had to really confuse people with directions, now it's so much more convenient.  We have a lot of golfers from both Fargo but even more from Winnipeg and it can be difficult to send people our way.  We sometimes find that on the way to us they found King's Walk and thought it was us and just stayed there to play.
     Taking the GFCC aspect of it out, I have heard from what I consider a very reliable source that the owners of the outlet mall in Albertville near the cities would like to build one here because of all the Canadian business that comes to or through Grand Forks.  However, they will not build here if they cannot build south of furniture row right on interstate and then will not build until there is a southern access point from 32nd Ave.  In my limited knowledge about traffic and economics, I see a tremendous upside to having that business build in Grand Forks - if, indeed, that was not simply a rumor.
     Also, and again in my limited knowledge, with the exceptional residential growth on the south end of GF, there is a great desire from the southern population to have a quicker and easier access to interstate rather than traversing through 47th, Washington, 32nd, and Columbia just to get to I-29 on 32nd.  I know two people that live just off 40th Ave S close to Washington that work at the NE corner of GF and on the Air Force Base.
     My last two cents are this: I see an awful lot of trucking traffic that comes from Thompson/Reynolds and the Fargo area that could use an exit prior to getting to 32nd Ave S because they are coming to us or other businesses south of 32nd.  The flip side of this is, is 32nd Ave a better and more stable road for them to drive on versus what exists south of that already?  I do not know.

     Quickly, on another topic, I beg you to consider the bridge across the Red River more in depth.  I truly cannot express how much I feel that would benefit the city of Grand Forks in countless ways with the change of truck traffic through the city streets.  Of course, a big count of that would be the beat harvest constantly driving through DOWNTOWN Grand Forks.  Furthermore, I strongly feel it would benefit the economics of the region (EGF/GF) with additional access to the southern points of each community and would therefore help EGF grow.  In my mind, I see taking the trucking traffic off Washington and Demers and sending it south of town would have great cost-savings on repairs of some of our main thoroughfares.  Not to mention the sanity of the residents of the GGF community!

Thank you for taking the time to hear my opinions.  I hope they were worthwhile and meaningful.  Best wishes and thank you, again.

Doug Iverson
Grand Forks Country Club