ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

MnDOT to undertake 20 construction projects in and near Duluth

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be busy again during the summer construction season in the Northland. The department will undertake 12 new projects and complete eight others. Among the projects planned for this year are as follows...

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be busy again during the summer construction season in the Northland. The department will undertake 12 new projects and complete eight others. Among the projects planned for this year are as follows:
New Projects
* (T.H. 194) Mesaba Avenue reconstruction from Superior Street to Fourth Street, CPR from Fourth Street to Central Entrance; $2.6 million; May 20 to Oct. 18; Mesaba Avenue closed below Fourth Street for the duration. Detour on (T.H. 53) Piedmont Avenue. Upper Mesaba closed for two weeks in July or August.
* Trunk Highway 2, 0.64 miles east of St. Louis River to 0.41 miles west of St. Louis River; replace bridge and grading paving and drainage.; estimated $4.1 million; June 15 to Nov. 15, 2003; two lanes of traffic will be provided at all times. Temporary bypasses will be used in 2003 for a short time.
* Mill and Inlay on Northbound I-35 from Trunk Highway 210 to Trunk Highway 45; estimated $580,000; Aug. 1 to Sept. 1; northbound traffic reduced to single lane, with short term ramp closures at the junction of Trunk Highway 33 and Trunk Highway 45.
* Districtwide culvert project various locations in District One; estimated $1.35 million; May 15 to Sept. 15; restricted to single lane under flagger control at each culvert location. Crossovers and two lane, two way traffic for Skunk Creek on I-35 on south Sandstone Exit (T.H. 123). Some ramp closures.
* Trunk Highway 210 reconstruction in downtown Carlton; $2.1 million; May 1 to Oct. 15; T.H. 210 closed to through traffic for most of season. Local traffic on detours.
* I-35 bridge painting at the overpass at Carlton County Road 13 and Pine County Road 48; $235,000; May 15 to July 1; both directions of I-35 reduced to single lane.
* I-35 Aitkinson Bridge (over County Road 61); de-icing system installation; $158,000; June 3 to Aug. 1; intermittent lane closures
* Trunk Highway 210 mill and bit overlay from Carlton to I-35, and shouldering near McGregor; $366,000; May 15 to June 25; daytime single lane closures under flagger control.
* Trunk Highway 39 mill and bit overlay from Trunk Highway 23 to Oliver Bridge in Gary; $104,000; June 3 to June 28; daytime single lane closures under flagger control.
* Trunk Highway 123 slope repairs at Kettle River in Sandstone; estimated $100,000; Sept. 15 to Oct. 15; no traffic impacts.
* Trunk Highway 61; culvert installation and bituminous paving from Lester River to Holmstead Road north of Duluth; estimated $4.4 million; July 8 to Oct. 30; restricted to single lane during most of the construction season with bypasses and lane closures.
* Trunk Highway 61 reconstruction from east limits of Cascade State Park to Seventh Avenue West in Grand Marais; estimated $6.6 million; July 8 to October 2003; daytime single lane traffic under flagger control during much of the construction season.
Carryover Projects
* (I-35) Thompson Hill Rest Area Landscaping Project; $100,000; May 1 to June 1.
* Trunk Highway 2 through Proctor; complete urban highway reconstruction; $1.6 million; May 15 to May 30; occasional short-term lane closures for minor cleanup.
* Trunk Highway 53, Duluth, intersection reconstruction and revision at Central Entrance and Trinity Road; $3,266,000; May 15 to May 30.; occasional short-term lane closures for minor cleanup.
* Trunk Highway 61 from north limits of Tofte to 0.8 miles south of Onion River; major reconstruction, grading, drainage and bituminous surfacing; $2.6 million; July 15 to Oct. 30; lane closures under flagger control. Traffic will be on a gravel surface for a significant period of time.
* Trunk Highway 53 in Duluth, "Can-of-Worms" bridge and ramp repairs on Trunk Highways 35/53/535; $2.6 million: May 1 to July 1; northbound and southbound ramps will be closed. Local traffic will be routed to 27th Avenue West intersection.
* Trunk Highway 53 Independence (Junction T.H. 53 and T.H. 33); reconstruct southbound bridge over Cloquet River, reconstruct southbound T.H. 53 from the junction with T.H. 33 to 1.5 miles north; $3.1 million; May 1 to June 15; southbound traffic reduced to a single lane.
* Trunk Highway 33 north of Trunk Highway 2, microtexture, bituminous surfacing; $350,000; May 20 to June 15; southbound traffic reduced to single lane.
* Trunk Highway 1 Finland to Isabella, bituminous overlay; $1,2 million; June 1 to June 15; repair shoulder lane closures under flagger control.
Statewide the 2002 construction season includes 246 projects.
"This represents the largest road construction program in state history," said Transportation Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg, "Despite the enormity of this effort, we are not keeping up with the demands on our transportation system."
Since 1990, the number of vehicle miles traveled in the state has increased more than 33 percent. At the same time, because of a lack of funding, the state has added less than 2 percent of roadway miles.
"Clearly, demand is greatly exceeding capacity," Tinklenberg said. "Nearly 250 construction projects across the state will only add to congestion in some areas, so we are asking for extra patience from the public during construction."
Federal investment return
The new and continued construction projects this summer are estimated to cost $1 billion -- about $499 million in federal funds and about $494 million in state funding.
"Minnesota is fortunate to be one of the states that receives more in federal highway construction dollars than we send to Washington," said Tinklenberg.
Since 1990, Minnesota has received an average of $1.10 from Washington for every $1 sent. However, this is not the case for transit. For every dollar sent to the federal government for transit, Minnesota receives only an average of 76 cents back.
New work zone law
Under a new state law enacted last summer, a work zone is defined as a roadway construction site when workers are present. Previously, the speed limit in all work zones was a maximum of 40 mph. Under the new law, the speed limit on a divided highway is up to 15 mph lower than the posted speed.
Drivers will see new "Fines Double" signs to indicate they are approaching a work zone.
"There are an average of 2,400 crashes in work zones every year in Minnesota," said Tinklenberg, "Most are caused by two factors: speed and driver inattention."
He urges drivers to slow down and stay alert when approaching a work zone.
Road info available
Construction projects across the state include expanding Highway 336 east of Moorhead from two to four lanes, improvements on Interstate 35 near Northfield and work on the replacement of the Lexington Avenue Bridge on 35E in St. Paul.
Drivers can get the latest information about state highway construction projects from Mn/DOT's Web site at http://www.dot.state.mn.us by clicking on "Road Conditions."
By phone, call (651) 284-0511 or toll-free, (800) 542-0220.
Travelers with wireless phone service can access information by calling Mn/DOT's new traveler information line 5-1-1. The service is currently available through wireless services except Verizon.

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.