Jamestown City Council unanimously passed a resolution Thursday accepting the low offer for the street diet project on First Avenue.
The rth Dakota Department of Transportation requested the measure to officially award the bid for the project.
The low bid from Ti-Zac Concrete of Le Center, Minnesota was more than $ 2.25 million for the project, which will include traffic signals, signage, strips, lightbulbs and sidewalks.
The city's share of the project is estimated at $ 241,368, said Travis Dillman, city engineer for Interstate Engineering.
According to Dillman, if the city refused to proceed with the project and accept the offer, the city would have to repay all costs incurred by NDDOT, which would be at least $ 375,000.
The road diet project will change the current four lanes of travel on First Avenue to one bidirectional lane with a middle turn lane and also to Fifth Street rthwest where US Highway 52/281 continues on to Seventh Avenue rthwest. Light bulbs, also known as "bump-outs," and flashing beacons are added to some of the streets that intersect with First Avenue to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the streets. A flashing beacon would also be placed on Fifth Street and Fourth Avenue rthwest, which lead to Washington Elementary School. They resemble the blinking beacon on Fifth Street and 12th Avenue rtheast near the Two Rivers Activity Center and the University of Jamestown, Dillman said.
Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said he thought the project would ultimately benefit the city, but still said it was at the intersection of US Highway 52/281 and the N.D. Highway 20 (Fifth Street rthwest / rtheast) should have a traffic light. All traffic signals on First Avenue except Third Street Southeast / Southwest have been turned off and the lights have been covered to reduce driver confusion.
"When all of this is said and done, it will be an improvement for the inner city, I believe," said Heinrich. “But I think that will be after the DOT realizes they made a mistake and we get traffic signals on Highway 20 and First Avenue. Whether it's next year and they realize the mistake they are making before that time, or whether it's a year or two later and they have to come back and do that again. "
Dillman said if there are changes in the traffic pattern at the intersection of Highways 281/52/20 that need to be addressed, they can advise NDDOT which will help resolve issues.
Steele said the First Avenue curtailment, slated for fall to get drivers used to the upcoming changes as part of the project, should have come earlier. This might have given them information about changes in traffic flow that would need to be addressed, such as: For example, the traffic signal at the intersection of First Avenue and Highway 20. And Heinrich noted that if the detour had been earlier on Avenue, the detour would have been increased earlier, which helps make it a little safer for pedestrian traffic.
Steele also asked if NDDOT could at least temporarily put pedestrian signs on First Avenue to alert drivers to pedestrian traffic.
"With four lanes of traffic and someone trying to cross, we have no lightbulbs, we have nothing," said Steele. “The DOT should have some sort of signage at each of these intersections … because the traffic has risen to speed and … I fear that we will have a big problem with someone being injured crossing the street. ”
Dillman said they will work with NDDOT to come up with a temporary solution like signage or a beacon to improve pedestrian access. He also said the proposed First Avenue redesign would help.
"Overall, I believe that when this project is complete, it will be positive for Jamestown," said Steele. "But change is difficult and not everyone agrees."
Dillman said the disabled traffic signals will not return no matter how the council votes on the bid for the project. Traffic studies had shown that they were not justified.
Heinrich suggested that people with special concerns about the project want to contact NDDOT directly. While councilors want to listen to these concerns, the NDDOT makes the decisions.
Steele said he was also concerned about business disruptions during the project, noting that the coronavirus had already caused lost revenue for businesses in the downtown area. The project is expected to be completed in autumn 2021.
Dillman said there was a phased process to go through and there would be communication with companies. Work this fall in addition to the three-lane strips will be ADA improvements outside of the bulb areas, he said. Major construction work would begin next year.
"The biggest thing is that we want to be on the lookout for the downtown business owners that they don't have any added stress or anything to do with the project," said Dillman.