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Despite rocky start to detour and weather issues, Hwy. 12 construction continues

April 14, 2008

Bridge removal date, construction schedule has changed

Almost a week into the detour and construction of Highway 12, there have been a number of changes and challenges, but perhaps the biggest curveball was thrown with the snowfall Thursday night and Friday.

Nonetheless, Park Construction and MnDOT has made arrangements for the snow, and a few modifications have been made as a result.

Construction schedule

A week ago, the city provided an update about the phasing of construction.

At that time, MnDOT was considering a request from Park Construction to alter the preliminary staging plan by starting construction now between County Line Road and Ninth Street.

Originally slated to begin after July 6, this stretch became critical to Park and MnDOT with the discovery of poorer-than-expected soils on the west side of the river.

MnDOT authorized Park to change the phasing plan Monday, April 7, and begin construction on the east end.

This has created the need to utilize St. Peter Avenue and Eighth Street for temporary Highway 12 business access.

MnDOT and Park have agreed this schedule modification will result in an accelerated completion date for this stretch of road from November 15 to July 1 for substantial completion. This last term – substantial completion – does not mean the same as final completion, but does require that the road be able to be used for its intended purpose.

MnDOT has informed Delano that it can expect the first layer of blacktop, along with curb and gutter, to be completed by this July 1 date to allow local access between Ninth Street and County Line Road.

Another construction change involves the demolition of the existing river bridge.

Originally slated for Monday, April 21, the contractor has now pushed that date back to likely the first week of May.

One of the reasons for this delay relates directly to construction between Ninth Street and County Line Road. The acceleration of this stretch is done to access the excess dirt in that area for use on the roadways west of the river.

Rather than hauling all that material either through town or the detour route, the contractor is planning to use the existing roadway and river bridge to transport the material across the river.

Current and upcoming construction activities

Thursday, the contractor was busy with work in two primary areas. On the east side of the river, the contractor is reclaiming blacktop from the existing roadway at Fifth Street and County Line Road.

Most of the millings reclaimed from the roadway will be stored temporarily, and then reused in different parts of construction.

The reclamation process west of Eighth Street will expose the concrete road base, established in Delano decades ago.

This concrete base will remain west of Eighth Street until utility reconstruction commences in the coming weeks.

The contractor has said it may begin construction of utilities between Third and Fifth Streets as soon as next week.

It isn’t expected, however, that utility reconstruction will proceed between Fifth and Eighth Streets until early May.

The utility construction will involve deep digging to replace sewer lines, followed by another process to install new water mains.

East of Eighth Street, the reclamation process is the start of more extensive roadway construction. The contractor will likely follow the blacktop removal with excavation of dirt and materials and construction of the new roadway.

On the west side of the river, the contractor is already constructing utilities.

Last week has resulted in much of the water main installation in the area of the new backage road connecting Wright County Road 30 to Rockford Avenue near the Peppermint Twist.

This water main construction is the first step in building this backage road. Once complete, traffic from county roads 16 and 30 will be directed to this road while the contractor begins reconstruction of Highway 12 in that area.

The contractor has also started reconstruction of the sanitary sewer line east of Peppermint Twist, near the former creamery building.

This sanitary sewer line services much of the area west of the river and is being reconstructed at a greater depth than the existing line.

With the inclement weather and depth of digging, it is likely that this reconstruction effort may be on hold through the weekend, but will recommence this week.

Detour route

The Highway 12 detour was implemented at about 4 p.m. Tuesday.

As with any traffic change, there were certain things that worked and others that didn’t.

Clearly, the first afternoon did not work. To its credit, however, MnDOT responded quickly and made some changes early Wednesday morning involving signal timing and signage that have appeared to make things flow better.

MnDOT signal technicians were on hand Wednesday afternoon to monitor the temporary lights at Bridge Avenue and River Street, as well as Bridge Avenue and Highway 12.

Both seemed to function well, and any traffic backups were kept to a minimum.

Since Tuesday evening, the detour seems to be moving traffic pretty well.

‘Detour of the detour’

As stated in the update March 24, there will be a temporary detour of the detour route coming soon.

Monday, May 5, County Line Road will close between St. Peter Avenue and Elm Avenue for the reconstruction of the County Line Road railroad crossing.

It is expected that the construction will be completed within one week. Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the owner of the rail line, will be doing the construction on the crossing.

While this construction takes place, Highway 12 traffic from the east will be detour at Hennepin County Road 92 and directed north to Hennepin County Road 11 west.

This traffic will then meet up with the existing detour at County Line Road and continue west on the current detour. Traffic from the west will travel this same route.

During the Highway 12 construction process, the City will continue to utilize online communication to send out information on the project via e-mail as it comes available. Local newsppaers will also continue to publish these updates.

If there is information that you feel would be helpful that may not have been shared to date, 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.

For more information:

If you would like to speak to someone regarding the project specifics, contact any of the following:

• Rick Beckes, MnDOT Project Supervisor, (320) 223-6536

• Vince Vander Top, Delano City Engineer, (763) 479-5124

• Ernie Eden, Delano Public Works Director, (763) 972-0580

• Phil Kern, Delano City Administrator, (763) 972-0565

Upcoming meetings this week for Hwy. 12

There are a number of Highway 12-related meetings in the upcoming week.

• Tuesday, April 15, 11:15 a.m., Delano City Hall

Weekly construction meeting, hosted by MnDOT and the City of Delano.

Anyone looking for up-to-the-minute information on construction activities and schedule may attend.

• Tuesday, April 15, 7 p.m., Delano City Hall

Regular meeting of the Delano City Council with agenda topics to include Highway 12-related items and discussion.

• Wednesday, April 16, 9 a.m., State Bank of Delano

Highway 12 Business Task Force, hosted by the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses impacted by the Highway 12 construction project are meeting to discuss strategies to address access, signage, and other project-related issues.

• Thursday, April 17, 12 p.m, Delano City Hall

General meeting of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce. Members will conduct the regular meeting, which will include an update on the project.

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