Road diet work starts in Jamestown

Traffic changes
A portion of First Avenue South was closed off Monday while crews prepared to restripe the street to the road diet configuration with one lane in each direction and a center turning lane. Changes to the stripes and signs on First Avenue should be completed by the end of the week. Keith Norman / The Sun

Work began Monday changing the painted stripes on First Avenue in Jamestown from a four-lane configuration to one lane in each direction with a center turning lane, according to Taylor VanEaton, project engineer for the North Dakota Department of Transportation in Valley City.

The project, known as the road diet, is part of a $2.2 million project to improve the flow of traffic in the downtown area. Ultimately, it includes changing the lane configuration for First Avenue and Fifth Street Northwest from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction and a center turning lane. The project will also improve pedestrian crossings and add other amenities to the downtown area.

VanEaton said the contractor is closing off limited lanes to traffic while the existing paint stripes are sandblasted or ground off the street and the new stripes are applied. Traffic is being maintained on the other lanes of the street during the process.

By the end of the week, it is anticipated all of First Avenue will be striped in the new configuration. Crews will also install traffic signs, no parking signs and pedestrian crossing signs to complete the work this fall. Plans do not call for changing the traffic striping on Fifth Street Northwest until next spring.

Work on changes to sidewalks and pedestrian crossings is planned to begin next spring, VanEaton said.


The city of Jamestown requested the change in striping as a safety measure after the North Dakota Department of Transportation removed all but one of the five traffic signals on First Avenue this summer. The traffic signals were found not to be warranted by the amount of traffic at the intersections by a traffic study and were not included in the final design of the road diet project.

"I'm pleased to see this is finally taking place," said Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich referring, to the work on changing the striping that started Monday. "We hope by the end of the week the people of Jamestown will have a chance to see how the final project will look."

The project is funded through an Urban Grant Program administered by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The grant covers 90% of the project costs with the city of Jamestown responsible for about $241,000.

"By the time the work is done next fall, we hope the people will see this as an improvement to downtown Jamestown," Heinrich said.

Heinrich said the changes put in place this fall were done as early as possible under the contract to allow people to get used to the new street configuration prior to winter weather.

"Obviously it is a change," he said. "It takes a while to change some habits."

Construction for the project is being done by Ti-Zac Concrete of Le Center, Minnesota.

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