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MnDOT releases list of innovative road, bridge projects in 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Maryland Avenue bridge replacement over Interstate 35E in St. Paul, the Highway 61 bridge project over the Mississippi River in Hastings, and the reconstruction of Highway 14 between Waseca and Owatonna are among more than 300 state highway and bridge projects that were under construction in 2012.

"The 2012 construction season was certainly one of innovation as MnDOT implemented new technology on several projects aimed at cutting project time and delays for motorists, while increasing safety on our highways and improving the quality of life for all Minnesotans," said Tom Sorel, Minnesota Department of Transportation commissioner.

Crews worked hard this year to resurface roads, replace bridges, improve drainage systems, repair guard rail, install cable barriers and complete other vital transportation projects.

"MnDOT appreciates motorists' patience throughout this season as we worked to improve the safety of Minnesota's transportation system."

Projects in the Twin Cities include:

Maryland Avenue Bridge replacement over I-35E in St. Paul - Work is nearing completion on this one-of-a-kind project that involved the replacement of the Maryland Avenue overpass using an innovative construction method to reduce the length of the road closure. Crews constructed the Maryland Avenue bridge superstructure alongside I-35E near the Maryland Avenue Bridge site and moved it into place after the abutments and piers were completed. Crews used self-propelled modular transporters to move the bridge into place--SPMTs are computer-operated, multi-axle machines that can lift, transport and set heavy loads. (Construction cost: $14 million)

Highway 61 Hastings Bridge project over the Mississippi River - The project began in October 2010 and is scheduled for completion in late 2013. Similar to the Maryland Avenue bridge project, this project involved building the main bridge span off site and moving it into place. Crews used SPMTs to move the main span onto several barges so it could be floated down river to the bridge site and lifted into place. (Construction cost: $120 million)

I-94 resurfacing between St. Paul and Minneapolis - Work is complete on this two-year improvement project that included resurfacing and the installing Smart Lane technology to improve safety and congestion through the I-94 corridor. Additional improvements included drainage repairs, bridge maintenance work, shoulder reconstruction and lane realignment. (Construction cost: $23.9 million)

I-694 concrete replacement in northeast Twin Cities - Work is wrapping up on this project that started in June. Work includes replacement of the road surface with concrete on about six miles of I-694; the new surface should last 25 to 30 years. The project also includes reinstalling cable median barrier, a key safety feature that can reduce fatal crashes by 90 percent. (Construction cost: $20 million)

I-494 improvement project in southern Twin Cities - Work is progressing on the resurfacing project that passes through Edina, Bloomington and Richfield. Additional work includes reconstructing the Xerxes Avenue Bridge spanning I-494. Crews are using a movable barrier machine, an innovative device that transfers concrete barriers laterally up to 18 feet in one pass. By using the machine, MnDOT is able to set up and remove lane closures quickly without disrupting rush-hour traffic and while maintaining the safety of motorists and workers. (Construction cost: $30 million)

Projects in northern and central Minnesota include:

· Highway 23 bypass project in Paynesville--Construction of the nearly eight-mile divided highway bypass around Paynesville concluded in July, more than one month ahead of schedule. Work began in spring 2009. (Construction cost: $32.2 million)

I-35 reconstruction in Pine County-Work is nearing completion on this project in the Sandstone area. Improvements include concrete resurfacing, bridge repair and ramp reconstruction. (Construction cost: $20.66 million)

Highway 23 expansion project between St. Cloud and Foley-Construction is completed on the two-year project that expands Highway 23 to four lanes from Highway 95 east of St. Cloud to Highway 25 in Foley. Additional work includes installing pedestrian access improvements. (Construction cost: $26 million)

Highway 1 reconstruction between Northome and Effie-Work is complete on the majority of the construction project that included resurfacing Highway 1, replacing culverts, resurfacing a portion of Highway 6 north of the junction with Highway 1 and completing streetscape work in the city of Effie. Crews will finish up landscaping work in spring 2013. (Construction cost: $7.3 million)

Highway 59 reconstruction north of Pelican Rapids-Work is complete on a project that included replacing two bridges and resurfacing the road. (Construction cost: $5.2 million)

Projects in southern Minnesota include:

· Highway 14 between Waseca and Owatonna--Work concluded this year on the multi-year project, which included a new interchange at I-35 and Highway 14. (Construction cost: $107.8 million)

· Highway 56 pavement reclamation and resurfacing between West Concord and Kenyon - Work is complete on the project, which included the reclamation and resurfacing of Highway 56. Pavement reclamation is the process of milling off part of the existing road surface, grinding the remaining pavement and a small layer of the underlying aggregate, injecting oil into the mixture to rebind the material and compact it back into place. The project also included replacing the Highway 56 bridge over the middle fork of the Root River near West Concord. (Construction cost: $6.3 million)

· Highway 60 four-lane expansion project between Worthington and Bigelow - The three-phase project began in summer 2010 and is scheduled for completion in 2013. (Construction cost: $70 million)

· Highway 14 expansion in North Mankato - Work is progressing on a project to expand Highway 14 to four lanes between Lookout Drive and County Road 6 in North Mankato. Additional work includes building a new interchange at Highway 14 and County Road 41. (Construction cost: $18 million)

· Highway 212 resurfacing projects near Montevideo - Work is complete on two separate resurfacing projects between Montevideo and Highway 75. (Construction costs: $5.8 million, $6.2 million)

For a list of recently completed projects, visit; ongoing projects, visit; and future projects, visit

Although the majority of 2012 construction work is coming to an end, work on several projects throughout the state will continue through the winter as weather permits.

"We ask motorists to continue to pay extra attention and follow posted speed limits when traveling through work zones," Sorel said. "Your destination is our priority, and we need your help to ensure that you get there safely."