By Ivan Raconteur
The first of two roundabouts that are part of the Highway 7 improvement project is set to open Friday, July 11.
During Wednesday’s project update at the Hollywood Ranch House, MnDOT Engineer Kelly Brunkhorst said assuming there are no delays, the roundabout at Carver County Road 10 will open Friday.
Both the County Road 10 and Highway 25 intersections will remain open over the weekend, and then the Highway 25 intersection will be closed Monday, July 14 so construction can begin on that intersection.
Last week, crews were milling and paving the section of Highway 7 between County Road 10 and St. Bonifacius.
This week, crews are expected to finish installing signs near the roundabout and completing pavement striping.
Once the County Road 10 roundabout is open, the section between that intersection to St. Bonifacius will be open to local traffic. The official detour for through traffic will not change until some time in August.
MnDOT Engineer Dave Johnson said once the Highway 25 intersection reopens, MnDOT will consider moving the detour from Highway 41 to Highway 25, and at that point, the section of Highway 7 east of Highway 25 will reopen.
The deep organic (muck) excavation between McLeod County Road 15 and Eagle Avenue has been completed.
Johnson and Brunkhorst both said they have heard many people express concerns that trucks will not be able to negotiate the roundabouts.
Both said they have followed the contractor’s trucks through the roundabout, and said trucks had been getting through the roundabouts and staying within the traffic lanes.
Once paving is completed, Johnson said, trucks will have even more room, with the trailering apron and shoulders open.
The speed limit in the roundabout will be 10 to 20 mph, Johnson said. He noted that the roundabouts are designed to drain to the outside, and anyone driving faster than the recommended speed will feel uncomfortable because of the way the road is sloped.