Moorhead Receives $6 Million in New State Bonding Bill for Underpass Project
The Moorhead City Council will formally vote on accepting the bond Monday
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Trains pass through the heart of Moorhead on a daily basis, but the wheels are in motion for a new underpass to help cars avoid train traffic.
“First and foremost this is a project that has been really a couple decades in the making. This will be a very, very important project not only for people getting around town on their day–to–day business, kids going to school and everything, but also for public safety,” said State Representative Ben Lien of Moorhead.
For months, city leaders thought they were inching closer toward getting started on the project, but everything changed when they got a bigger cost estimate from Burlington Northern.
“It doubled in the size that we thought it was, but it was not as big a part of it, but anyway, that made us be off about $13 million,” said Mayor Del Rae Williams of Moorhead.
Prior to the recent bonding bill, Moorhead already received $42 million of state funds for the underpass project. The recent cost estimate from B–N–S–F led to a legislative scramble to increase the amount in the bill.
“These unforeseen circumstances with these cost overruns came up really at the last minute so they were very gracious and understanding and you know, willing to work with us to get that funding in the bill,” said Lien.
Even with the additional state funding, Williams is optimistic construction will start soon.
“It’s an over two year project, going on three, but you will see particularly two of the years will be problematic for the community but we will probably want to start work this July,” said Williams.
Williams and the Moorhead City Council will have a special meeting on Monday to formally vote on whether or not they will accept the $6 million bond from the state.