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Highway 10 work is on schedule

For the most part, construction is going according to schedule with the Highway 10 project.

"Generally, we've been pleased with the contractors, so hopefully that continues," said Tom Swenson, Minnesota Department of Transportation's project manager.

Major phases of the construction are at Highway 10 and Roosevelt Avenue, and Highways 59 and 34.

When Roosevelt was closed for about a week, Swenson said the main purpose was for "utilities along the corridor, (we) needed to get those out of the way."

To move the utilities and to prepare for the construction of the underpass of Roosevelt Avenue, construction crews needed to dig below the water table.

During that week, the railroad also took the time to redo the Roosevelt Avenue crossing as well.

To dig below the water table, construction workers had to de-water the area. Swenson said sheet pile had to be put in "so water doesn't run back in."

First workers had to drill down, similar to digging a well, and pump the water to an existing storm water holding pond located by Randolph Road and the Pelican River. While in the holding pond, like water washed off the street, sediments are filtered and clean water then runs into the Pelican River.

Swenson said the amount running into the river is minimal and won't affect it.

Once the Roosevelt Avenue underpass is built, even though it is below the water table, Swenson said the underpass won't leak or flood. It's designed to be "completely waterproof," he said. Of course natural weather like rain and snow will hit the road, but the underpass will be equipped with a drainage system to pump out any unwanted water.

"Should it crack in the membrane and leak, which we don't expect, the drainage system already handles that," he said.

Workers plan to finish the north side of Roosevelt Avenue this year and the south portion of the project next year. Along with the highway and railroad work, crews are also putting in holding ponds north of Central Market and west of the cold storage building.

At the Highway 59 and 34 intersection, work on the east side of the Highway 59 bridge is being done to widen the road. The bridge will eventually be a five-lane bridge.

"We're getting signals in and setting up for the hand-off to widening," Senson said. Signal lights will be located at 59 and 34.

Since the bridge will be five lanes wide, construction workers are working to widen the area before the bridge to three lanes. The east side of the bridge will be constructed in 2007, and in 2008, the west side of the bridge will be completed.

On both areas of the project, Swenson said things are going according to schedule.

"Most of the time, it's a one year project," Swenson said of road projects in the area. "Here, it's (multiple) major features. It's almost like a marathon."