How Are Summer Road Projects Going? Mid-Summer Update On Minnesota’s Highways
The middle of August is a good time to check in with all of the summer road construction projects going on in our area. The Twin Ports has been hit hard again with orange cones as the first-phase of the two-year Bong Bridge rebuild has progressed and other projects have left detours and road closed signs in the path of just about everyone.
We know the going’s been tough this summer for drivers all around the state with hundreds of maintenance and construction projects underway,” said Charlie Zelle, MNDOT commissioner. “However, the benefits—smoother, safer roads and bridges—are worth the short-term inconvenience we all experience. We appreciate your patience.”
The summer of 2014 has been a busy one to date and includes such “firsts” as:
- Kicking off the $330 million Corridors of Commerce program on June 30 with the groundbreaking of its first project, a $28.3 million expansion of Interstate 94 that will reduce congestion over the Crow River between the cities of Rogers and St. Michael. Corridors of Commerce projects are intended to provide additional highway capacity on segments where there are currently bottlenecks in the system and improve the movement of freight.
- Moving the new Larpenteur Avenue Bridge over I-35E into place July 9-10 through an innovative, time-saving technology known as slide-in-bridge construction. This allowed crews to build the new bridge a few feet north of the existing bridge, which was left open to traffic, and then use hydraulic jacks to slide the 3.5 million pound bridge to its permanent site. The method significantly cut construction time (from 110 days to 47), reduced impact to traffic and businesses and improved safety.
- Breaking ground for the $162 million Highway 43/Winona Bridge project in Winona on July 18. The project will preserve the historic bridge while building a new river crossing to connect Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is the first time MNDOT is using the construction manager-general contractor method of delivery, an innovation that will save time, improve cost control, optimize the schedule and enhance collaboration between MNDOT and the contractor.
Here are updates for other projects from around the state:
- I-35 in Owatonna ($14 million in 2014) – Crews are replacing the concrete southbound lanes and bridges this year. Work will resume next spring to replace the northbound lanes.
- Highway 14 east of Owatonna ($8 million in 2014) – This Corridors of Commerce project has begun. The road will be expanded from two lanes to four lanes and will wrap up in fall 2015.
- Highway 52 Cannon Falls interchange ($7.6 million in 2014) – MnDOT is on track to open the new interchange and frontage road system by Aug. 25. The northern intersection with the signal will come out and close by Aug. 25. This will remove the final traffic signal on Highway 52 between Rochester and the Twin Cities.
- Highway 52 and Goodhue County Road 9 interchange ($6.7 million) – This project is on schedule to be completed this fall. It will provide a safer interchange crossing.
- Highway 169 in St. Peter ($11.6 million) – This flood mitigation project is raising Highway 169 and Highway 22 one foot above the 100-year flood elevation. It is expected to be completed this fall.
- I-94 in Monticello ($17.2 million) – This project is reconstructing I-94 to improve traffic flow and safety and provide for a smoother road. It includes reconstructing and reconfiguring ramps at Highway 25 and adding an auxiliary lane to westbound I-94 between County Road 18 and Highway 25.
- Highway 10 in Rice ($6.6 million in 2014) – This project is replacing the existing Highway 10/County Road 2 intersection with a new interchange, among other improvements. The project is scheduled to be completed in November.
- Highway 29 south of Benson ($6.5 million) – This project, which began July 28, involves resurfacing 14 miles of Highway 29 between Benson and Highway 40 and replacing three bridges. The project is using cold-in-place recycling, a longer-term fix than a traditional mill and overlay. It is meant to reduce the amount of maintenance and repair costs over time.
- Highway 59 in Detroit Lakes ($1.7 million) – A new roundabout on Highway 59 at Willow Street in Detroit Lakes opened July 24.
In addition, MnDOT crews statewide are resurfacing dozens of miles of highways, repairing and painting bridges, installing cable median barriers at dozens of locations and improving drainage.
Twin Cities metro area
- I-35E ($32.8 million in 2014) – Crews are reconstructing I-35E, adding a MnPASS Express Lane to provide more reliable commutes. Crews replaced the Arlington, Wheelock and Larpenteur Avenue bridges.
- Highway 52/Lafayette Bridge ($15 million in 2014) – Construction continues on the new southbound bridge crossing the Mississippi River with a completion date of early September 2015. The new northbound bridge is carrying both northbound and southbound traffic across the river east of downtown St. Paul. Rebuilding the two bridges one at a time saves motorists time and money by allowing traffic to use the existing bridge rather than having to detour to avoid construction.
- Highway 65 ($8.6 million) – Crews are making progress on this road improvement project in Fridley and Spring Lake Park, which will replace pavement, improve drainage, install guardrail, upgrade pedestrian ramps and make safety improvements to bus stops.
- Highway 62/Xerxes Avenue Bridge ($1.6 million) – The bridge and ramps are now open to traffic. Crews reduced time and materials needed to reconstruct the bridge deck by using deck panels that were precast offsite, rather than pouring the bridge deck onsite. The project increases the lifespan of the bridge and provides better accessibility for pedestrians.