WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 14, 2010, 11:45 AM

30 million dollar project would add 2 underpasses in Moorhead

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Moorhead has an underpass project, 5-years in the making, and it's still not even close to being done. The 30 million dollar project would add more 2 underpasses in town. It's part of the city's effort to cut down on railroad and traffic intersections.

City engineers call this project a work in progress. 5 years ago they received a grant to design it. They're now 98 percent done with that phase.

"We just have to dot the I's and cross the T's."

The plan is taking so long because the city had to clear the way for this project. One spot is the old Holiday Gas station right next to Moorhead High. It'll be demolished in 2011.

The intersection here at main and 20th street will be moved to the west and underpasses will be built for traffic heading in all directions. Another bonus for drivers is wait time at other train tracks in town.

Right now a train coming in from the south and going east has to follow the tracks west running parallel to main, after the train completely gets on the east-west track it stops then backs its way toward Dilworth. A new track curving the trains to the east will be put in for this project.

"If the entire funding was provided to us this year, if congress said hey here's the money go ahead, we would probably take almost 3 years to get this thing built."

Engineers say having a drawn up plan should soon bring in federal dollars.

Engineers say maintaining train traffic during construction will be extremely tough. The underpass will create Moorhead's only north-south passage free of any train-vehicle intersections.

Moorhead firefighters say the clear pass would help them tremendously. There is one station on each side of the tracks, but firefighters say in the event of a large fire, trucks from both stations respond. Firefighters say there are ways to dodge the trains, but they're out of the way and sometimes not even open.