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Major upgrades planned for First Avenue North

Downtown work to start next spring

August 15, 2012
By BILL SHEA ( , Messenger News

About four blocks of First Avenue North in downtown Fort Dodge will get a complete overhaul in a project scheduled to start next April.

The project, which has an estimated price tag of $1.8 million, was introduced during a Tuesday evening meeting at McClure Engineering Co., 705 First Ave. N., attended by a handful of people who own property in the area where the work will be done.

No complaints were received, but the engineers did get some specific questions from people wondering how they would reach their property while the work is under way.

Article Photos

McClure Engineering project manager Aaron Granquist, center, explains part of the First Avenue North Reconstruction project Tuesday evening during a public information meeting held at McClure Engineering. At left, Jan Friesth and her granddaughter Sidney Lowry, 7, listen along with Heather Callon, of Fort Dodge, at right. An aerial photo of the project is laid out on the table.

''Our goal is to maintain access to businesses,'' said Aaron Granquist, a project manager for McClure Engineering Co.

He added that the project will be done in stages so that the entire area isn't closed to traffic at the same time.

The section of First Avenue North to be improved is between Third and Seventh streets.

The project will include these elements:

Street lights may also be upgraded.

Money to pay for the project would come from the federal Surface Transportation Program and the city's local option sales tax.

Construction is slated to start in April 2013 and be completed by the end of October.

Access to apartments and businesses on the south side of First Avenue North in the work area will be possible via side streets and alleys during the construction period, according to Derick Anderson, the local manager of McClure Engineering Co. He said he's more concerned about businesses and homes on the north side of the road that do not have access to alleys or other streets.

City Engineer Chad Schaeffer said the First Avenue North project will have to be coordinated with the repaving of North Seventh Street and repairs to the bridge on North Third Street.

The City Council on Monday hired Fort Dodge Asphalt to repave several streets, including Seventh Street between First and 15th avenues north. Some of that work will be done this fall, with the rest to be done next year.

Concrete repairs which were to close the Third Street bridge for several days this summer have been postponed until next year.

Schaeffer said after the First Avenue North project is done he will ask the City Council to consider converting the entire street to two-way traffic. It is now a two-way street between Third and Seventh streets. Between Seventh and 12th streets it is a one-way street with all traffic heading east.



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