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Mandan highway to see lane reduction

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A stretch of state Highway 1806 in southeast Mandan will be reduced from four lanes to three lanes in 2022 in a project that includes new traffic signals and concrete repair.

A stretch of state Highway 1806 in Mandan will be reduced from four lanes to three in the future, though not without consternation from city officials.

The Mandan City Commission reluctantly approved the change to the street at a Dec. 7 city commission meeting as part of a participation agreement for a project with the state Department of Transportation.

The project has been in the works for about a year, and commissioners expressed concerns with the lane reduction at board meetings throughout 2021. Several said in October they were frustrated that their feedback on the road project was ignored by the Transportation Department.

The board voted in April to keep the existing four-lane road, but the Department of Transportation has operational control over state highways and decided to move forward with the lane reduction. Sixth Avenue is part of state Highway 1806.

The lane reduction provides "traffic calming," according to a letter from Transportation Department Engineer Paul Benning. He added that 85% of the traffic on that road is traveling at 35 mph, which is 10 miles over the posted speed limit.

The addition of a dedicated left-turn lane helps reduce the number of rear-end crashes, he said.

"I don't see where we have a lot of choice but to approve the funding and move forward," Mayor Tim Helbling said.

The road project also will replace traffic signals at the intersection of Third Street and Sixth Avenue, along with other work, including concrete pavement repairs from Main Street to the Heart River bridge.

The estimated cost share for the city is around $201,000, with a total cost of just over $2 million. The state and federal governments are funding the remainder of the project. Bidding for the work is set for early next year, and the work is scheduled for the 2022 construction season, City Engineering and Planning Director Justin Froseth said.

Reach Sam Nelson at 701-250-8264 or sam.nelson@bismarcktribune.com.

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