Bumpy now, smooth later: Drivers question 32nd Avenue roadwork

A construction crew works on the median along 32nd Avenue South in Grand Forks Wednesday. Photo credit: John Stennes/Grand Forks Herald.

Story by Austin Ashlock

Cracks in the road and bumpy conditions may make it seem like road repairs along 32nd Avenue in Grand Forks are only making matters worse, but engineers are assuring drivers that all is well.

City Engineer Al Grasser said the city has been receiving questions about the roadwork, which stretches from Interstate 29 to South Washington Street, throughout the summer.

Grasser said people have questions on cracks left behind by road workers and why patches of road already worked on are bumpy after drivers are allowed back on them.

A map of construction work on 32nd Avenue. Photo credit: City of Grand Forks

“For a driver just passing by every day, it looks like nothing is being done or the ride seems a little rough,” Grasser said. “So it is understandable that drivers think these things, but it is not going to be anything like that when it’s finished.”

North Dakota Department of Transportation District Engineer Les Noehre said while repairs on cracks in the road may look unsuccessful, it is just the result of a technique called stitching.

“Essentially, contractors drill holes in the concrete and put steel poles through the crack and seal it,” Noehre said. “The crack is there but it no longer operates as a crack.”

As for the bumpy conditions along previously worked-on sections of road, Noehre said the process workers are using to do repairs causes them to leave and come back to sections.

Find more about the reconstruction process here. You can watch a video about the 32nd Avenue project here.

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