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Road work ahead

March 31, 2008

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Members of the Delano City Council met at a special work session last Monday night to review the pre-construction meeting that took place for the Highway 12 reconstruction project.

The pre-construction meeting took place March 20 in St. Cloud at MnDOT’s district office, with city engineer Vince Vander Top of Wenck Associates, Public Works Director Ernie Eden, and Fire Chief Bob Van Lith representing the city.

“That was the first major milestone at the start of construction,” commented City Administrator Phil Kern.

The meeting encompassed about 50 people and lasted about two hours. At the work session, the council reviewed the update that had been sent out via the city’s web site (see elsewhere in this week’s paper), and other punchline item concerns that have been brought forward to the city.

“We’ve spent the last few months trying diligently to meet with just about every affected property owner – the business community downtown, churches, schools, the bus company – you name it, to try to identify issues,” Kern said.

A concern that noted at the work session includes finding out the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s flexibility on signage. Kern said the city presented proposed signage changes to MnDOT at the pre-construction meeting.

Another concern brought forward was getting directional signage to the industrial park, and possible temporary signage during the Fourth of July celebration. At the work session, the council took action to contribute $5,000 to the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s task force to assist with economic development promotional activities.

Several issues brought forward that involve Wright County include the encouragement of police enforcement, especially speed, during the detour. Kern said Wright County has told the city it will be doing as much patrol as time will allow.

It was also noted that any issues along the detour route should be handled by the state patrol, as it’s their jurisdiction during the detour.

A request was made from the Delano Catholic Community for a possible “children at play sign” in the area around St. Joseph’s Church on River Street.

Van Lith said MnDOT does not recommend this, as it gives people a false sense of security and tends to blend into the landscape in time.

The city council discussed limiting parking on the east side of River Street between Oak and Maple avenues, with the city staff talking to property owners in that area. The council is expected to make a final decision on that issue at its regular meeting Tuesday, April 1.

The work has begun

Construction crews have started a little bit of work, Vander Top said. Modifications are being made at the tntersection of Bridge Avenue and River Street, and some equipment has been delivered in the area of County Line Road and Wright County Road 30.

Some other things to be anticipated in the near future are putting up temporary signals on the detour route.

Vander Top said crews will be working five days a week, 10 hours a day.

“If the weather fluctuates at all, that’ll be one of the first things that changes,” Vander Top said, noting the city’s noise ordinance has been shared with the contractor, specifically the 7 a.m. start time.

One of the first things people will notice is crews doing work on sanitary sewer and water south of the Legion on Highway 12 outside of the highway roadway, which will be done before the detour is set up.

Vander Top said crews are shooting for the detour to be operational by Monday, April 7 – a week earlier than originally though.

“When the detour is up and running, there will be another utility crew starting with deeper sanitary sewer,” he said.

Bridge over Crow River set to come down April 21

“A lot of their schedule is driven by the bridge,” Vander Top said. “They want to start on the bridge April 21. One of the first things that’ll happen April 21 is they’ll take the old bridge down.”

There is a part of the contract that states they cannot work in the Crow River because of fish impact until June, but Vander Top said the contractor has talked to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and have permission to work in the river as long as they’re careful.

Mayor Joe McDonald asked if there was a plaque anywhere on the bridge that can be saved for the local historical society. Vander Top said he would check into it.

Even though he noted it’s likely this date will change, the contractor has a completion date for the overall project set at Oct. 24. He said the contract requires completion by Nov. 15, but there’s a $10,000 per day incentive for every day that they finish ahead of that. The bridge would be completed by Oct. 13.

“Schedules all change, and we know that, but that’s what they (Park Construction ) shared at the pre-con meeting,” Vander Top said.

One of the first things the contractor will do after taking down the old bridge is building the abutments for the new bridge, Vander Top said.

“They need a lot of fill in this area,” he said. “They’re looking at places where they could generate this dirt.”

Park has made the request to MnDOT to start in the area of Delano Crossings between Ninth and County Line Road almost immediately – late April or May.

“The reasoning they shared initially is such that they think they can do it quickly because there are no utilities in there, and they can use the dirt from that area to help build this abutment,” he said. “The specifications clearly say that the contractor will not start in that area until after July 6.”

Vander Top said the preliminary schedule is laid out such that the contractor will be in that area, but it requires written approval from MnDOT before they can make that adjustment.

It was noted more review will take place on the request.

Upcoming dates of interest for Hwy. 12

A number of important dates are in the near future for the Highway 12 reconstruction project:

• Wednesday, April 2 – the next meeting of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s Highway 12 task force will take place at State Bank of Delano’s meeting room.

For more information, call the chamber at (763) 972-6756 or visit www.delanochamber.com

• Saturday, April 5 – the city will have a booth at the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s expo at the Tiger Activity Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. that will feature Highway 12 reconstruction information.

• Monday, April 7 – the detour will go into effect, according to MnDOT.

• Thursday, April 10 – the first weekly meeting for construction updates will take place at the Delano City Hall at 11:15 a.m.

These meetings will provide residents a forum for asking questions, expressing concerns, addressing access issues, as well as allowing for the contractor to share information about the coming week.

Watch for updates online at www.delano.mn.us and www.delanoheraldjournal.com and also in the Delano Herald Journal.

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