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Two views of 6th Street . . . Kenmare residents who attended a public meeting
with Moore Engineering representatives had their first look at two alternatives
considered for the road project. The first alternative, top, shows a "rural" setting
with shallow ditches over a storm sewer system. The second alternative,
bottom, shows an "urban" setting with curb and gutter, decorative
street lighting and a sidewalk on one side. Both options use the existing 28-foot
roadway and county right-of-way, with no additional purchase of property.
By Caroline Downs
Kenmare residents discussed road width and Ward County right-of-way with engineers who presented two alternatives for improving 6th Street through town.
The 0.9 mile stretch of Ward County 2 provides the only route across the lakes of the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge for about 10 miles north or south of Kenmare. That fact became a focal point of the discussion as truck drivers and ag producers reminded Moore Engineering representatives of the importance of the road.
“Face it, we’re an ag community,” Jason Skar said. “That’s our bread and butter. I don’t see a lot of functionality for lights and sidewalk.”
Brock Storrusten, branch manager for Moore Engineering in Minot, and Dave Roedel, project manager, opened the October 9th meeting with a review of the situation for an audience of about 20 residents. “The major problem is the failing pavement,” said Storrusten. “That’s the county’s focus. The county is dedicated to a rural section road and some storm sewers.”
He continued, “The question is, what do you want to see regardless of maintenance, regardless of cost? What do you want this road to signify for Kenmare? What you do here today is going to be around for the next 50 years.”
He and Roedel reviewed comments received from the first public meeting held on the project in September. About 30 people attended that meeting, with seven submitting written comments later.
The preference for sidewalks and lights along the street were noted among those responses. “But we want to hear from a few people before we make any decisions,” Storrusten said.
He, Roedel and project engineer Byron Glenn plan to have the design work completed for the road by February so the project is “shelf ready” for Ward County to access any funding that becomes available.
Roedel presented two alternatives to the existing corridor to address the issues of drainage and safe travel for vehicles and pedestrians. The first showed a rural cross section of the existing 28-foot roadway, including shallow ditches with a storm sewer.
“In this alternative, there is no room for sidewalks with the ditches there,” he said. “We would lower the road to maintain driveway grade with area drains for the storm sewer.”
The second alternative featured the same 28-foot roadway, along with curb and gutter, decorative lighting, and an eight-foot sidewalk on the north side to create a more urban design. Roedel noted the sidewalk would be located within the county’s current right-of-way.
“You’re defining the roadway section pretty clearly with curb and gutter,” Storrusten said, “and curb and gutter along this corridor will slow traffic speeds down.”
Bryce Boughton immediately raised the issue of farm machinery versus the road width if curb and gutter were installed, but Ward County Engineer Dana Larsen noted all the county’s roadways were designed for 28 feet. “Some roads are 24 to 26 feet wide, but we typically don’t pave wider than 28 feet,” he said.
Glen Froseth asked about shifting the road surface slightly to the south. “That could accommodate walkers and farm machinery,” he said.
The engineers said such a change could be considered. However, property owners on both sides of 6th Street voiced concerns about the location of the sidewalk relative to their garages.
The proposed lighting in the second alternative came under fire as an obstacle. “That’s just going to be smashed all to heck,” Skar said as he described the sprayers, seeders and combines using the route.
“I agree with Jason,” added Jody Olson. “Those lights are just target practice.”
Audience members also asked about the efficiency of snow removal with curb and gutter, as well as the loss of parking areas in front of the garages that face the street.
The questions led to a discussion about other options to consider. Roedel and Storrusten explained the light poles could be moved or increased in height to avoid problems with farm equipment. Mayor Roger Ness suggested curb and gutter could be used on one side of the street only, with the county and city discussing plans for snow removal along the route.
However, Storrusten and Roedel acknowledged some driveways and portions of a few garages were indeed located in the county’s right-of-way.
Comments still taken
The formal meeting ended as the Moore Engineering representatives met individually with the homeowners present who had concerns about the impact to their own properties.
Comment forms were again provided for use by any local residents. “We just want to hear from everybody about where they want to go with this project,” said Storrusten. “It looks like the biggest change for the corridor would be to add the sidewalk.”
Kenmare citizens are asked to indicate their vision for the street, along with their preference for lighting and the “rural” or “urban” setting.
Comments about the project can be left with the Kenmare City Auditor or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 385-4232.
The engineers can also be contacted directly at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions or comments about the project should be submitted as soon as possible while the engineers prepare a design to present for the city’s consideration.