Each week, Herald reporter Brandi Jewett answers your questions about local government, laws and other local topics.
Q. As you drive south on Columbia Road, there’s a right-hand turn lane into the Altru Health campus that’s blocked off. When will that lane open, and how do you take a right-hand turn at that intersection?
A. As you may know, Columbia Road was reconstructed this summer from the DeMers Avenue overpass to the intersection of 11th Avenue South. The goal was to expand Columbia from two lanes to three.
Since the project stopped at that intersection, there is no third lane south of it, according to city spokesman Kevin Dean.
And because of that, you won’t be using that blocked-off lane for a while.
Phase two of the project is expected to begin in 2016 depending on whether money is available for it. Until that second phase — which will focus on the stretch of road from 11th Avenue South to approximately 14th Avenue South — can be completed, the far right turn lane will remain closed.
For now, right turns will be allowed from what will eventually become the third through-lane at that intersection.
Q. I drive down South 42nd Street between 17th Avenue South and 32nd Avenue South many times a day, at many different times. With the exception of the coldest months, there is always someone walking, biking or jogging on 42nd Street or on the grass adjacent to the busy street. Are there any plans of providing at least a temporary walking path parallel to 42nd Street, between 17th Avenue South and the Country Inn?
A: For those far more dedicated to fitness than I, it sounds like you’ll have a path to bike, walk and jog on in that South 42nd Street area soon.
According to Dave Kuharenko with the city’s engineering department, Grand Forks is working on plans for a shared-use path on the west side of 42nd Street from 17th Avenue South to 24th Avenue South.
It’s scheduled for construction in 2014.
As for the remaining stretch from 24th Avenue South to 32nd Avenue South, there are some scattered sidewalks installed on the east side of the road.
The potential of filling in the gaps with new sidewalks will be explored in more detail this winter.
If you live in that area, don’t worry about paying special assessments for the path’s creation. The project will be funded through the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program and city money.