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Here's what's happening on Highway 10

Although the rain may be putting a damper on some plans, it hasn't been affecting Highway 10 road and Highway 59 bridge construction.

Project Manager with Hoffman Construction Chad Johnson said, collectively, the crews have only lost about two days because of the rain.

"We don't need anymore of that, that's for sure," he said at the monthly update meeting held at city hall.

He said the weekend rains don't affect the construction, and during the week, it's just the storms that have accompanying lightening that slows them down. Or like last week's tornado weather that sent them home for the afternoon.

Since crews have been working 11-hour days, no time has been lost on Johnson's schedule.

Some of the construction not being rained out includes driving pilings for the retaining wall, constructing the Highway 59 bridge and railroad work.

Twelve-inch pilings are being driven at the overlook point -- near Holiday Inn -- for the retaining wall that will separate the new Highway 10 and the frontage road. The pilings will be filled with concrete, with the footings poured on them, and then the retaining wall.

Before the piling work even began, rocks from the overlook wall were falling out and the city and Minnesota Department of Transportation decided to remove the wall and eventually replace it when the project was finished, moving it four feet closer to the lake and providing a few more feet on the parking lane that will be used by overlook viewers and boaters in that area.

Johnson said that portion of the project is a prime example of why decisions need to be made quickly at times. When the rocks began to fall and crews were on the site working, Johnson said he got a call asking how important the wall was to save because it was quickly falling apart.

"I asked, 'when do you need to know?' '15 minutes,'" he said was the reply.

"Our goal is to have some decision to you (Mn/DOT) in a couple weeks," Alderman Bruce Imholte said of the Public Work Committee and city council's decision on if the city wants another wall constructed or some other structure.

Across the street, the railroad track relocation is "progressing as scheduled," Johnson said. It will be finished in early July as planned.

Once the railroad work is finished, construction crews will get started on work at Roosevelt Avenue underpass. Johnson said crews will likely start working 12-plus-hour days to complete the work as quickly as possible.

Construction on the entire project will come to an extended halt June 29 at noon through Thursday, July 5, because construction crews have been put on hauling restriction for the Fourth of July. Johnson said without even dump trucks, not much can be done.

"Chances are, you won't see much going on," he said of that time period.

At the Highway 59 bridge, beam setting is taking longer than anticipated, said Johnson, but is still on schedule. The east portion of the bridge will be open the end of July for traffic use, and then the existing bridge will close and be torn down immediately for the remaining three lanes to be built.

"There's a chance it'll get done early, but it's on schedule," he said.

That is according to Johnson's schedule, not the contracted schedule. Johnson's is a few months ahead of the contracted one.

"The bridge crews are doing a great job," he added.

Another date ahead of schedule is the railroad's cutover date from old to new tracks, which has moved from July 9 to June 26.

Once the tracks are switched and the railroad is finished, the crews can get in and start on the Roosevelt Avenue underpass.

Traffic flow

Some of the traffic issues that have been addressed are four-way stops, signal timings and East Shore Drive access onto Highway 10.

Mn/DOT's Construction Project Engineer Shiloh Wahl said the four-way stop sign at Washington Avenue and Highway 34 has been working great. The signal lights at Highway 59 and Highway 10 have been modified to allow more time for the southbound traffic to get through.

Likewise, the signals at Richwood Road/Roosevelt Avenue and Highway 34 have been extended to deal with the extra traffic from detours.

He said Mn/DOT has received numerous calls about the County Road 54 and East Shore Drive crossing with Highway 10, with requests for a four-way stop in that location. Because it would be even more dangerous to put a stop sign on Highway 10, instead lanes have been added and painted to accommodate a right turn lane onto County Road 54.

"We're doing the best we can," Wahl said of the crossing.

He suggested that those living on East Shore Drive consider using Ox Cart Trail as an outlet instead.

Mayor Larry Buboltz, who happens to be an East Shore Drive resident, said Ox Cart Trail is the way to go.

"It has calmed down dramatically," Buboltz said of the traffic problems at East Shore Drive and Highway 10. "I commend you on that.

"If people just have two minutes of patience, and they do," he continued, there shouldn't be any problems in that area.

City road construction

Public Works Director Brad Green said there are 17 city road projects going on this summer as well as the Highway 10 and 59 construction.

"Some of them tie in very closely with Highway 10," he said.

Most of the work has been with utilities.

The next public meeting with Mn/DOT and Hoffman Construction on the Highway 10 road and Highway 59 bridge construction is July 9 at 12:30 p.m. in city hall.