Most of the public comments concerning the road diet gathered by Interstate Engineering during the public comment period were to leave the current situation alone or to maintain more traffic signals than is part of the preliminary plans, according to Ben Aaseth, project engineer for Interstate Engineering.
Aaseth told the Jamestown Public Works Committee Thursday that at this point, the project includes one traffic signal at Third Street, near the Alfred Dickey Library, and one on Fourth Avenue Northwest at the tennis courts. An additional traffic signal at the intersection of North Dakota Highway 20 and First Avenue in Jamestown may be considered because traffic forecasts estimate heavier volumes of traffic at that intersection in the next five years.
The road diet would reduce the current four lanes of traffic on First Avenue to one lane in each direction and a center turning lane. The project would also reduce the number of traffic signals on the street in an effort to allow traffic to flow more efficiently.
Aaseth said the public comment documents had been forwarded to the North Dakota Department of Transportation for consideration. Interstate Engineering is currently preparing environmental documentation for the project. That could be followed by a design and planning process in the spring.
At that point, the city of Jamestown could make the argument for additional traffic signals on First Avenue, but the ultimate decision would rest with the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
The Public Works Committee also heard a request from Travis Dillman, city engineer for Interstate Engineering, regarding the State Transportation Improvement Program, or STIP, list. Cities list road infrastructure projects on the STIP list to prioritize the projects and apply for state and federal funding.
The Jamestown Public Works Committee will review possible projects for the STIP list at its Dec. 19 meeting.
In a special Jamestown City Council meeting prior to the committee meetings, the City Council approved applying $85,000 of tax abatements it had previously approved for the UJ Place under construction at the University of Jamestown. The tax breaks will be considered the local share of a PACE interest buydown program through the Bank of North Dakota.