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Changes taking place with Highway 12 construction

April 7, 2008

Here’s a rhetorical question: “What changes more frequently, Minnesota weather or details on a construction job?”

No need to answer that question, but as we’re all finding out, things are changing very rapidly with the Highway 12 construction.

Construction phasing

One of the more significant items up in the air right now is the phasing of construction.

In the project planning and pre-construction phases, MnDOT had confirmed with the city that the bulk of early construction would take place between the railroad bridge on the west side of the river and Ninth Street to the east.

As updated last week, the stretch from Ninth Street to County Line Road was intended to stay undisturbed until after the July Fourth holiday weekend.

In late March, Park Construction (the general contractor) provided its schedule to MnDOT and requested the ability to start on the Ninth Street to County Line Road stretch first, marking a significant change from what most Highway 12 businesses and the city were planning.

MnDOT has initially denied Park’s request, citing commitments it has made to the community about phasing.

Park has requested that MnDOT reconsider. The issue really revolves around dirt. Beneath the section of roadway from Ninth Street and County Line Road is a substantial amount of material that Park would like to reclaim for use in constructing the new bridge abutments and other areas of construction.

If it’s not able to reuse this material, Park is claiming that it will have to import significant amounts of dirt into town, then haul the excess dirt out once it’s able to start on the Ninth Street to County Line Road stretch.

Of course, Park and MnDOT are discussing who would be paying for this dirt import/export.

To help its cause, Park has offered to expedite the construction in this area, from the currently planned 19-week time period between July 6 and Nov. 15, to a much quicker window between early April and the end of June.

By the July Fourth holiday, Park would commit to having this stretch of roadway substantially completed for local traffic.

Park would like to start construction as early as next week on this phase.

The city is continuing to spread the word to business owners along the Highway 12 route regarding this potential change and request consideration from MnDOT for local issues that will result if it decides to change course.

Aside from the Ninth Street to County Line Road construction area, utility construction is expected to begin this week in two areas.

First, sewer and watermain reconstruction will begin on the west side of the river near the intersection of Rockford Avenue and Highway 12.

The utility construction in this area will begin outside of the Highway corridor, preparing for the eventual construction of a backage road behind the properties on the west side of Highway 12.

This backage road will be permanent, but will also be crucial to detour traffic once the highway is reconstructed on the west side of the river.

Utility crews will also commence work early on the east side of the river, starting near the intersection of Fourth Street and Highway 12.

This area contains some of the deepest sewer excavations on the whole project. It is expected that the contractor will start in this location on the east side and continue moving east with utility construction.

Detour route

Park Construction is proceeding with plans to start the detour route Tuesday, April 8.

This past week, temporary stop lights were installed at the intersections of County Line Road and County Road 30, as well as Bridge Avenue and River Street.

With the start of the detour, there will be a few changes to parking restrictions on River Street.

For the first 110 feet north of Bridge Avenue, a no parking zone will be established on both the east and west sides of the street. This restriction is needed for turning movements between Bridge Avenue and River Street.

Further, there will be a no parking zone on the east side of River Street between Oak and Maple avenues, across the street from St. Joseph’s Church.

Likewise, there will be no parking on the west side of River Street between Park Avenue and County Road 30, through the city’s Central Park.

Both no parking areas have been established to reduce mid-block crossing of the road by pedestrians.

During the Highway 12 construction process, the city will continue to send out information on the project as it comes available via e-mail.

If there is information that you feel would be helpful that may not have been shared to date, please reply to hwy12@delano.mn.us with your question or comment.

The city’s web site – www.delano.mn.us – has a special section with Highway 12 information under the “Projects” heading.

At this site, the city is posting construction drawings and a computer-simulated video of the finished Highway 12 project, plus frequently asked questions and the city’s responses.

This site will continue to be updated throughout the project with information as it becomes available.

If you would like to speak to someone regarding the project specifics, please contact Public Works Director Ernie Eden at (763) 972-0580 or City Administrator Phil Kern at (763) 972-0565.

Do you know more about this subject, or have a comment? E-mail news@hjpub.com