By Ivan Raconteur
After a one-week delay due to weather, the Highway 7 construction project is now in progress.
Detour signs went up at 7 a.m. last Monday.
Damage to township roads and customers getting lost on the way to local businesses were among the concerns discussed at the first Highway 7 construction meeting last Wednesday.
MnDOT representative Kelly Brunkhorst has scheduled these meetings every Wednesday at 1 p.m. during the project to provide updates and give the public the opportunity to ask questions and share concerns about the project. The meetings take place at the Hollywood Ranch House at the intersection of Highway 7 and Carver County Rd. 33, north of New Germany.
Charles Burns, who is in charge of maintenance for Hollywood Township, and Gerald Goede, who is in charge of maintenance in Camden Township, both reported damage to township roads caused by truck traffic associated with the Highway 7 project.
Burns described damage to Vega Avenue. He said he spoke to a representative from Knife River, who told him the contractor had authorization from the state and county, but Burns noted that Vega Avenue is a township road, and the township knew nothing about the company using the road as a haul route.
Brunkhorst said there had been a misunderstanding, and the contractor will no longer be using Vega Avenue.
Goede described damage to Welcome Avenue.
In addition to damage to the roads, both men expressed concern about the safety of residents driving on the roads when there are deep ruts caused by truck traffic.
“They (the contractor) should have graded that road yesterday. If it isn’t done by this afternoon, we will do it ourselves and bill the contractor,” Goede said.
Brunkhorst called the contractor and passed on the township’s concern.
The focus of the work in the days ahead will be the pavement removal and utility work at the Carver County Road 10 intersection, and construction of a sedimentation pond near the intersection of McLeod County Road 15 and Eagle Avenue.
Brunkhorst noted that some people have been ignoring the detour and driving on Highway 7. She cautioned that culvert work will begin today, and replacement of center line culverts will result in holes in the pavement at various points in the construction zone.
Brunkhorst said that while local traffic is permitted, law enforcement officials, who issued warnings during the first few days of construction, will be ticketing drivers who attempt to use Highway 7 as a through-route. Local traffic refers to drivers traveling to or from a business or residence along Highway 7. Brunkhorst said drivers should access Highway 7 at the closest possible point to their destination.
Regarding a Carver County project that will involve milling and overlay of Carver County Road 33 between Highway 7 and New Germany that is scheduled to be completed this year, Brunkhorst said she has been in contact with the county, and this work will not start until the Highway 7 project is complete.