WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 21, 2013, 09:30 PM

Fargo could get its first extended tunnel for drivers

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Fargo could get its first extended tunnel for drivers.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Fargo could get its first extended tunnel for drivers.

It's an idea the commission approved to research, to try and capitalize on improving the downtown area, and to meet flood protection goals.

The original idea to get the city to 42 and a half feet flood protection, was to put flood walls downtown, like you see in Grand Forks. It would have eliminated some businesses, well this idea of turning 2nd street into a tunnel would cost more but could add an enormous value.

This is often the scene in downtown Fargo come spring, the 2nd street dike going up.

The tunnel idea being explored would replace it, running from 1st avenue to the railroad tracks at 6th avenue. Above the tunnel would add connection to the river, green space, work space, the ideas are endless.

Mike Williams/City Commissioner: "for instance a hotel could go up,

create an amenity out of flood protection is common; San Antonio's riverwalk, confluence in Denver, Rochester, Des Moines all created flood protection that created a new amenity."

Tonight the commission approved the study to see if this idea would physically work next to the river, also how much it'd cost.

April Walker/City Engineer: "at our next decision point we can decide is it worth whatever amount we come up with to do it?"

In 8 years, the property value of downtown Fargo has gone from 200 million to now 600 million, and the revitalization is only halfway done. As of now we can only imagine what a project of this nature could add in value, but it's safe to say it'd be a lot.

Williams: "we've got this huge investment of public and private dollar downtown instead of putting up a goulag style wall, lets make something that brings it, it would be the epicenter of Fargo.

If the study comes back and this project is feasible, the city would then look at the economic impact of such a project.