Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 17, 2001

Detour route upsets drivers as road project enters second phase

By Patrice Waldron

Phase two of the McLeod County Road 1 construction project in Winsted started last Monday, and the detour route has caused a few problems.

Phase two starts at Linden Avenue and goes north to Common Street, which is the Wright/McLeod county line.

At Wednesday's construction meeting, Julie Millerbernd, principal of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Elementary schools requested an alternative travel route for teachers.

Several teachers with classes in both Winsted and Waverly have been unable to make it between the two cities and still be on time for their classes because of the long detour route, Millerbernd explained.

"I understand if they're working, but can't we just be on the road now?" Millerbernd asked.

"Once the earth moving equipment moves in, it's more of a danger," Linda Battey, senior construction supervisor said.

"Buses are also having a difficult time getting through," Millerbernd added.

Millerbernd will contact the bus supervisor to help make sure everything runs smoothly with busing the students and the new detour route.

Project supervisor Tim Mueller will contact Rose Menden at Rose's Day Care to be sure all transitions with the children are being completed in a safe manner.

A small road has been constructed from the back of the trailer court to Northgate Drive, Battey said.

The driveway was not intended for bus travel, but it is the safest way for kids to get from their homes to the bus, Batty continued.

An alternative travel route using township roads was suggested for Millerbernd to pass along to the teachers.

A few points to remember were mentioned at the road construction meeting:

· the detours are designed to keep drivers out of the work area because of the dangers involved.

· in the fall, there are shorter, cooler days, and drying takes longer than during the summer. There are steps involved in the construction project which require the excavated road to dry before continuing. If the soil is not properly dried, it will fail the compaction test, which is done to ensure the road will last as long as it should.

Cool, rainy weather may delay construction progress more than one would think.

· the residents who live within the construction zone have every right to go in. The crews will do whatever they can to maintain accessibility.

A flagman working at the intersection of County Road 1 and Linden Avenue quit his job Tuesday, due in part to the abuse he encountered by angry drivers who were upset about the new detour route.

A sheriff's deputy was stationed at the scene to dispel problems.

Drivers were reportedly driving around the barricades, thus avoiding the detour route.

Gordon Kubasch and Jim Menden, representing the Winsted Public Cemetery Board were also present at the meeting.

Kubasch inquired as to what the plans were for the ditch in the front of the public cemetery.

"We can't cut that grass because of the water there. It's like a big cavern," Kubasch explained.

"I'm concerned about the spring water which runs through there," Battey said.

Kubasch requested that some fill be brought in to level out the area.

"I don't see that the dirt work should be a problem," said Batty. She did question the water run-off pattern, and wondered if the new storm sewer would have the capacity to handle an area that big.

Batty stated that the people who handle the dirt would probably be in Winsted in a few days, and they would be notified of the request to fill in that area.

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