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Moving traffic

Traffic waits on the eastbound off-ramp of Interstate 94 Monday while northbound traffic on U.S. Highway 281 moves past. Traffic signals, planned for installation this summer, will make exiting from the interstate to Highway 281 easier. Keith Norman / The Sun

Making a left turn from Interstate 94 onto U.S. Highway 281 at exit 258 will get a little easier this summer, according to Nathan Holland, assistant district engineer for the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

Holland said bids will be opened later this week for a project to add traffic signals at the north and south end of the overpass. The signals will be synchronized with the existing traffic signals at 17th Street Southwest and 25th Street Southwest.

Travis Dillman, project engineer for Jamestown with Interstate Engineering, said the project takes into account the traffic flows in the area.

"The DOT design process has looked at the traffic patterns from 17th to 25th," he said. "It's a busy overpass and we want things to move as smooth as possible."

Holland said the system includes a video detection system to determine when there are vehicles waiting on the off-ramps trying to exit from Interstate 94 to Highway 281. When there are no vehicles waiting, the lights will remain green on Highway 281.

"It all coordinates with the amount of traffic," he said.

Holland said coordinating the traffic signals to move vehicles through the area as quickly as possible is important given the amount of traffic.

A 2016 traffic count indicated the overpass carried about 16,880 vehicles everyday. The same count estimated between 2,100 and 2,300 vehicles used each of the off- and on-ramps at the exit each day.

Holland said the engineer's estimate for the project is about $688,000. The work includes a repair to one of the joints in the bridge deck and will require traffic be narrowed to one lane in each direction for part of the construction.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation will cover all construction costs of the project, although the city of Jamestown could carry some future responsibility for maintenance of the traffic signals.

"Long-term operations and maintenance could be turned over to the city in the future but even then, the DOT would participate in non-routine maintenance," Dillman said.

Dillman said construction could start anytime after the bid is awarded depending on the schedule of the contractor. The contract requires the project be completed by October.