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13 detours in DL? Web site can help

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It all comes down to accessibility: Whether it's access to information, or access to businesses, recreation and residential areas during the construction season, the Minnesota Department of Transportation wants to make it as easily available as possible during the reconstruction and realignment of the Highway 10 corridor through Detroit Lakes.

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With construction officially slated to begin Monday, April 16 -- though it could actually get underway a few days sooner, according to construction project engineer Shiloh Wahl -- the two-year, $32.5 million project is going to cause "major traffic disruptions."

However, "We are trying to minimize them as best we can," said resident construction engineer Jeff Perkins during an open house for the project Thursday night at the Minnesota State Community & Technical College in Detroit Lakes.

To that end, MnDOT has included several incentives for contractors to speed up the construction process as much as possible, Perkins noted.

In fact, those incentives have turned what was originally slated to be a three-year project into a two-year project, he added.

Paving of the Highway 10/Highway 59 intersection, which will be retooled along with the replacement of the Highway 59 bridge crossing the railroad just north of Highway 10, will be done mostly at night, Perkins noted.

The bridge replacement will also be done in two parts, with the old bridge slated to be torn down in between construction of the two halves.

This will be to allow at least one lane of traffic to be maintained in both directions (or no less than two lanes at any time). In addition, there will be no work done on the Highway 10/Highway 59 intersection to "disrupt the flow of traffic" during weekends.

The other major portion of the project will be the construction of a railroad underpass on Roosevelt Avenue. The south half of the underpass is scheduled for completion this year. This will result in the closure of Roosevelt Avenue at the railroad intersection from approximately May 7 to Sept. 1, Perkins noted.

This timeline will, however, be dependent on the railroad being able to get its equipment in and construction started promptly. Because the equipment needed to install the concrete ties on the new track is currently being used on a project in California, its arrival in Minnesota will be dependent on the California project being completed on time.

However, Perkins noted, "Burlington Northern has been absolutely wonderful to work with, and I expect that to continue."

Other portions of the project to be completed in 2007 include:

• Realignment of the Highway 10 corridor from Highway 59 to Becker County Road 54.

• Realignment of Becker County roads 54 and 53 at the east end of the new Highway 10 corridor;

• Construction of a frontage road from East Shore Drive to Roosevelt Avenue.

To lessen the impact on traffic crossing Highway 10, The Washington Avenue and County Road 54 intersections will remain open while the Roosevelt Avenue and Kris Street intersections are closed for construction, and vice versa.

The Lake Avenue intersection will also remain open until after the Washington Avenue intersection improvements are completed in the spring of 2008. Once that project is completed, the Lake Avenue intersection will be permanently closed, Perkins noted.

According to Judy Jacobs, communications coordinator for the Highway 10 project, a web site has been set up to provide up-to-the-minute construction updates throughout the project.

The web site is located at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d4/projects/connectdetroitlakes. Updates will also be provided regularly to local public access television, radio stations and newspapers

In addition, Perkins noted, MnDOT staff will be giving a public construction update once a month as part of the Detroit Lakes street committee meeting, on the second Monday of the month.

For more information, visit the project Web site listed above, or contact one of the following:

• Judy Jacobs, communications, 218-847-1568 or Judy.Jacobs@state.mn.us

• Shiloh Wahl, construction project engineer, 846-0426 or Shiloh.Wahl@dot.state.mn.us

• Jeff Perkins, resident construction engineer, 846-1513 or Jeff.Perkins@dot.state.mn.us

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers and editor of MN Boomers magazine for the past 13 years. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 847-3151
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