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A sure sign of spring: roadwork ahead

Across west central Minnesota this summer, road construction projects will pop up like dandelions.

You can get rid of weeds, but there’s no avoiding road construction.

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Transportation presented its 2014 construction schedule and provided a few details about projects scheduled for the Alexandria area:

●Highway 27 will be resurfaced from Hoffman to Interstate 94 from May through July. It’s an 18-mile stretch of road and detours will be in place.

Highway 29/Broadway Street in downtown Alexandria will be reconstructed from 3rd Avenue to 8th Avenue. Construction will last May through October.

●Highway 29 north from Alexandria to Highway 210 will be resurfaced. It’s a 29-mile stretch that will not include the segment running through Parkers Prairie.

●Interstate 94, from Garfield to Ashby, will have 22 miles of cable median barriers installed. The project is expected to last May through July and drivers should expect lane and shoulder closures.

Birch Avenue railroad crossing in Alexandria will have gates installed and should take place this summer or into fall.

Douglas County Road 36 in Miltona will have gates installed at the railroad crossing sometime this summer or fall.

Brad Cegla, MnDOT District 4 project supervisor, said, “It’s going to be a very interesting spring for all Alexandria residents.”

Locally, of course, the spotlight is on the Highway 29/Broadway project in downtown Alexandria that’s set to start May 12.

Planning for this reconstruction project has been in the works for about three years.

“That hard work and planning really pays off in the end. That’s going to help make the project successful,” said Jody Martinson, MnDOT District 4 transportation engineer.

Last year was reportedly the largest construction season in MnDOT’s District 4 history with $70 million in projects. This year, the projects are expected to total about $65 million.

Statewide, there are 308 MnDOT construction projects set to take place this summer, totaling about $1.1 billion. MnDOT asks motorists to plan ahead when traveling.

Martinson said, “Please be patient, buckle up and when you’re in the work zones… pay attention to what they’re doing and slow down.”

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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