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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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It is Time for Minnesota Highway Construction

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Last week , the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDot) announced 316 projects – including 92 in the metro area. The Saint Paul Pioneer Press reported that projects would include:

LAFAYETTE BRIDGE

MnDOT hopes to finish replacing the U.S. 52/Lafayette Bridge crossing the Mississippi River east of downtown St. Paul by the fall of 2014. The work includes modifying bridges over Interstate 94 and realigning adjoining roads, as well as redecking the Plato Boulevard and Eaton Street bridges and resurfacing the Concord Street bridge.

Work was completed last year on the northbound side of Concord, Eaton and Plato, and resumes next week on the southbound bridges. It continues through early summer. All ramps are open, except for Plato Boulevard to northbound U.S. 52. Drivers should follow posted detours.

INTERSTATE 94

Road resurfacing and noise wall construction continues on Interstate 94 between Cretin Avenue in St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis.

The right lane of westbound I-94 between Minnesota 280 in St. Paul and Huron Boulevard in Minneapolis, which is closed for pipe and shoulder work, is expected to reopen in mid-June.

All the eastbound lanes of I-94 between Minnesota 55 in Minneapolis and the Cretin/Vandalia Street exit will be closed for a full weekend, and all the westbound lanes will close on a different weekend. The dates have yet to be announced.

INTERSTATE 694

In Arden Hills, the ramp from Snelling Avenue northbound to Interstate 694 westbound closed Monday as work on the I-694/Snelling/U.S. 10 interchange continued. It will stay closed into November, with the tentative goal of reopening by Thanksgiving.

The project involves rebuilding the interchange and eight highway bridges.

"We're realigning 694 and 10 to separate them," said MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard. "That's always been a crash-prone area."

Also along I-694, a pavement and ramp reconstruction project from U.S. 61 in White Bear Lake to 40th Street in Oakdale will begin in June. It effectively links the I-694/I-35E "Unweave the Weave" project, which was completed in 2008, to pavement work south of 40th Street, which also was finished not long ago.

INTERSTATE 35E

Drivers can expect long-term lane closures in the northbound lanes of I-35E from County Road 96 in White Bear Lake to the 35E/35W split in Columbus, south of Forest Lake. A concrete overlay project will tear up and replace 9 inches of road surface.

Major paving for the $22 million project is expected to be completed in early June, though some additional work will occur into late June. Travel resumed on the southbound lanes Monday morning.

U.S. 61

Beginning in July, a $5.5 million project will resurface U.S. 61 and replace six center-line culverts from Lake Avenue in White Bear Lake to 210th Street North in Forest Lake.

The traffic signal at Buffalo Street also will be replaced. Lane closures are expected into October. MnDOT will host a project open house from 4:30 to 7 p.m. May 21 at Hugo City Hall.

STILLWATER LIFT BRIDGE

The Stillwater Lift Bridge will be closed from September to December for $3.3 million in improvements, including new electrical and mechanical components.

The 80-year-old lift bridge eventually will become a bicycle and pedestrian crossing, with cars using a new four-lane, $293 million bridge about a mile to the south.

Additional roadwork in Minnesota and Wisconsin could boost the cost of the St. Croix River Crossing project to between $571 million and $676 million. Construction is likely to begin in 2014.

HASTINGS BRIDGE

In Hastings, construction continues on a four-year, $120 million project to replace the U.S. 61 bridge over the Mississippi River by June 2014.

With all construction projects it is important to keep in mind these safety tips :

All fines are doubled in work zones and those are real people standing out there in the orange vests. So most of all SLOW DOWN.

  • Stay alert, expect the unexpected.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate lane shifts – merge when directed to do so.
  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.
  • Don't speed in work zones; obey the posted speed limits.
  • Avoid using mobile phones while driving in work zones.
  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  • Be patient!