Underpass project under way

If there’s ever been a construction project we’re happy to see get started, it’s the Sixth Street Southwest Underpass project.

Anyone who’s lived in Minot during a sudden rainstorm, such as the one that rumbled through the area late Monday night, knows which underpass we’re talking about, even if they don’t know the actual address. It’s the one by the Minot Public Library that floods quickly during even modest rainstorms, which means local law enforcement officials have to put up barriers to to keep some driver from trying to plow through the often deep water and getting stranded.

Well, starting this week, work begins to alleviate that problem and others with the underpass. The roadway will be lowered to make it usable by taller vehicles, and the intersection of Sixth Street and Western Avenue will be reconfigured. Storm sewers will be rebuilt, with more inlets to drain water off the street and larger underground pipes to improve drainage. Next spring, a new storm water pump station will be constructed near the intersection, which will be the real key to alleviating the drainage issues. The project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2015.

The two years of detours and construction at the site will be well worth the wait. The underpass upgrade has been a long time coming.