By Ivan Raconteur
The intersection of McLeod County Road 9 and Highway 7 will be closed within the next two weeks to allow crews to lower the grade of Highway 7 west of the intersection.
MnDOT Engineer Kelly Brunkhorst said Wednesday that contractors Knife River and Matheiowetz Construction are working out how the closure will affect the haul route that crews have been using. The intersection will be impassible during this stage of the project.
Brunkhorst said she will issue a press release when the timing for the closure has been scheduled.
Fred Radde asked if there was a possibility that MnDOT will open the stretch of Highway 7 between Highway 25 and Carver County Road 33 before November.
Brunkhorst said she would have to talk to Ron Hall, Knife River project manager, about this.
The Highway 25 roundabout is still on schedule to be open Sept. 8, Brunkhorst said.
Work continues on the roundabout. Edge drains and electrical conduit were installed last week, and installation of curb and gutter is expected to begin Wednesday.
MnDOT representative Dave Johnson said if the section of Highway 7 east of County Road 33 does re-open before November, it would be open to local traffic only, and the official detour would not change.
Brunkhorst said crews are continuing to prepare the grade between McLeod County Road 15 and Eagle Avenue for gravel.
Crews have also been excavating the roadbed for the passing lane section between Carver County Road 21 and Tacoma Avenue, and were expected to finish installation of centerline pipes in this section last week.
Roundabout concerns continue
One person who was present during Wednesday’s project update meeting said MnDOT made the situation worse by designing the roundabouts with center mounds, because the mounds create a visual barrier and drivers are unable to see other traffic. He said roundabouts in Europe are not designed that way.
“We have our own concerns about the design,” Johnson said. He explained that he is concerned about possible snow drifting in the roundabouts during the winter, and said the mounds could be removed in the future if necessary.
Following up on another concern with the roundabouts, Brunkhorst said she expected additional signs for the roundabout to be delivered by last Friday. These will include “yield ahead” signs, and advisory signs recommending a maximum speed of 20 mph in the roundabouts.