By Frank Stanko
After being publicly unaccessible for most of the summer, the south and east oval entrances of Wahpeton’s North Dakota State College of Science are expected to be driveable for automobile traffic beginning Friday, Aug. 19.
The reopening coincides with move-in weekend for the campus’ students and will indicate a “substantial completion” of this year’s work on the oval project, Joel Paulsen, public engineer and senior project manager with Fargo’s Bolton and Menk engineering firm, said Tuesday, Aug. 16.
“There’s still work to be done, touch up work, but the roads will be open and the signs will be up,” Paulsen said. “We will still be expecting some periodic work within the south and east oval over the next month or so. Most of the grass and landscaping won’t go in until the mid-September, October timeframe. We want to do that because it’s a better part of the season because it’s a better time for growth.”
Although Paulsen said his staff would try to return campus-specific signage and monuments to NDSCS this year, they are currently on the work schedule for spring of 2017. That the infrastructure project will be done in phases is one thing Paulsen and Jill Anderson, project manager for NDSCS, want to remind the public of. A total completion shouldn’t be expected until October 2017.
People driving and walking along the ovals will notice what Anderson called better and safer pedestrian crossings.
“We’ve changed our parking from parallel parking to angled parking to ensure an easier in and out,” she continued.
Increasing pedestrian safety was a large goal of the project, Paulsen said.
“Some of the things you’ll see in the south oval are the stamped concrete delineated crosswalks, that are a different color from the concrete, so as you’re driving up, you’ll be able to physically tell exactly where that crosswalk is … A couple of the crosswalks have been raised a little bit, to keep the pedestrians more visible as they’re entering the roadway.”
Once this year’s landscape work is completed, the focus will shift to the parking lots north of Old Main and the extension of Fifth Street North from the east oval to Norgaard Hall.
“That’s still all on schedule. We’re making good progress on that. And then, phase three, up north by the Blikre Activity Center, is still on schedule as well. We’ll start to see some paving operations on some of the adjacent lots and up north probably in another month or so,” Paulsen said.
Anderson said this year’s work on the Old Main and northern lots project will be “mostly complete” during October, with this year’s work near the Blikre, mostly complete during November.
Although there aren’t any more city road closures expected, Paulsen did say residents can expect a lot of truck traffic near the campus, especially during paving operations. Officials were proud to say 100 percent of NDSCS’ former pavement, gravel and concrete structures have been repurposed along the way.
“That means we don’t have to truck it off site and we don’t have to truck the new stuff in. In a project of this size, that’s pretty significant,” Paulsen added. “It’s hard to quantify the savings as far as that’s concerned, but it is very significant savings and a very good use of taxpayer dollars. In the end, I feel we’re providing a better product to the campus by doing this operation and being less intrusive to the city and the residents around the campus.”
Anderson estimated that 82,000 square yards of bituminous asphalt have been removed so far.
“That’s a couple hundred basketball courts,” she said.
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