MARSHALL - Road construction season is back again, and area travelers will need to be aware of several work zones on state highways this summer.
District 8 of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which has offices in Willmar, Marshall and Hutchinson, hosted a news conference Thursday morning to discuss the upcoming 2012 road construction season. A number of area projects will begin in May and July, including on Minnesota Highway 68 between Marshall and Porter, U.S. Highway 59 between Garvin and Slayton, and U.S. Highway 75 between Lake Benton and Pipestone, said District 8 Public Affairs Coordinator TJ Melcher.
Along with discussion of local road construction, MnDOT Commissioner Thomas Sorel addressed statewide road projects in a video conference Thursday morning. Sorel said 2012 would be "a pretty good year for road construction," with construction on a total of 313 projects taking place around the state.
Details of area road projects are included below:
There are road projects scheduled for Minnesota Highway 68 between Marshall and Porter beginning in May, said engineer Jim Stoutland. The highway between Marshall and Minneota will be resurfaced, and resurfacing between Minneota and Porter will also include the addition of pedestrian ramps on sidewalks in Ghent, Taunton and Porter. The projects will require some lane closures on Minnesota Highway 68, but not a detour. Because contractors are asking for an early start on the project, construction could be finished by the end of August, Stoutland said.
Stoutland said he has been contacted by area residents who would like to see Minnesota Highway 68 made wider. However, Stoutland said the funding was not available for that at this time. Melcher said the majority of MnDOT's project planning is focused on maintaining current transportation infrastructure.
There will also be two construction projects done at the same time on U.S. Highway 59 between Garvin and Slayton, Stoutland and project engineer Nick Klisch said. One project will repair and replace concrete on the road surface from U.S. Highway 14 south to the intersection with Minnesota Highway 30, also known as Pete's Corner.
The second project on U.S. Highway 59 will be a realignment of the S-curve at Pete's Corner to improve visibility and safety at the intersection. Stoutland said bypass lanes will also be added on U.S. Highway 59 south of the curves. Construction is scheduled to begin July 9 and could continue through October.
"We wanted to try and avoid the Fourth of July holiday," to avoid traffic snarls around Lake Shetek, Stoutland said.
In addition to the realignment, the project will resurface six miles of highway between the intersection and Slayton.
Both projects on U.S. Highway 59 will share the same detour, Stoutland and Klisch said. The detour will run west on U.S. Highway 14 from Garvin corner, south on Minnesota Highway 91 to Lake Wilson, and east on Minnesota Highway 30 to Slayton. A detour running from Slayton to Currie will follow Murray County Road 35.
More information on the U.S. Highway 59 projects can be found online at www.dot.state.mn.us/d8/projects/hwy59/index.html.
A resurfacing project is planned for U.S. Highway 75 from north of Pipestone to Lake Benton, Stoutland said. In addition to resurfacing the highway, pedestrian ramps will be built for sidewalks in Lake Benton. The project will require lane closures but will not have a detour. Construction should run from July to August.