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Detour of the detour begins today

May 5, 2008

Railroad will repair crossing on County Line Road

This past week, bridge construction officially began.

The process of driving steel pilings on the west abutment was initiated Tuesday. The work has progressed quite well, and the contractor continued to drive additional pilings late last week.

Reconstruction of the roadway in front of Delano Crossings is also going well. A significant amount of material has been hauled out to the west side of the project, providing fill for the backage road and County Road 16.

The contractor began importing sand and gravel from off-site to build the roadway base between Ninth Street and County Line Road April 30, which will continue into this week.

Also this week, the contractor will finish hauling in fill from the eastern portion of the project for the backage road and Wright County Road 16 construction.

Once this hauling is complete, the existing bridge will be able to be removed. This demolition is currently scheduled for sometime in mid-May

The contractor has been installing watermain between Third and Fifth Streets, which should be finalized next week.

Once completed, the contractor will begin constructing the deep sanitary sewer in the center of Highway 12 in that same area.

The contractor has constructed a good portion of the temporary road on the south side of Highway 12 between Seventh Street and Delano Dodge, which will allow access to businesses on the south side of Highway 12 during the utility reconstruction.

Sanitary sewer construction will also begin this week in the center of the roadway near the Ninth Street intersection.

Detour of the detour

Starting today, Monday, May 5, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad will be in Delano reconstructing the crossing on County Line Road.

County Line Road has been functioning as part of the Highway 12 detour since April 8.

With this construction, MnDOT will be changing the Highway 12 detour route, extending traffic heading east on Wright County Road 30 in Delano to Hennepin County Road 11 and Hennepin County Road 92 in Independence.

This new route, dubbed the “detour of the detour,” will begin on the morning of Monday, May 5.

BNSF’s construction on the railroad crossing is expected to take approximately five days. Once completed, County Line Road will reopen and the Highway 12 detour will resume its original route at that time.

Why is the railroad crossing being rebuilt now?

This question has been asked by virtually everyone involved with the project to date.

Certainly, there is almost no worse time to rebuild this railroad crossing than the present.

Last summer, in preparation for the detour route, MnDOT officials reviewed all of the roads to be used with this project.

Significant items of their review included the downtown bridge and County Line Road railroad crossing.

While the downtown bridge was deemed capable of handling the increased traffic loads, the County Line Road railroad crossing was recommended for replacement.

At that time, MnDOT requested BNSF repair the crossing. After sharing with MnDOT that BNSF didn’t have available crews to do the work, MnDOT further offered substantial financial incentives to have the crossing reconstructed in 2007.

However, BNSF was unable to schedule the work for completion. Further, since BNSF has jurisdiction over the railroad crossing, MnDOT had little recourse to force BNSF into action.

In January, BNSF alerted MnDOT that it had the work scheduled for May 5. Because of frost in the ground and work schedules, BNSF stated the work couldn’t be completed before the Highway 12 detour started.

The need for the repairs has been confirmed in the first few weeks of the detour. The integrity of the crossing has deteriorated under the increased traffic. The repair is necessary.

Detour route

This past week, Minnesota state troopers have been in town to help with traffic circulation at the intersections of Highway 12 and Bridge Avenue, and River Street and Bridge Avenue.

MnDOT continues to evaluate the effectiveness of the traffic control. The city has received a lot of mixed feedback regarding the traffic control.

New signal heads will be installed at the intersection of River Street and Bridge Avenue Wednesday, May 7.

The signal heads will include arrows, to allow for split-phasing of turning movements and improved traffic control.

Lastly, the previously reported truck detour is moving forward. MnDOT has determined a route, which will be shared with the city soon, for all thru-trucks.

It is expected that this detour will be in place sometime in mid-May after weight restrictions are removed from county roads.

For more information

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

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, you may 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.

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