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Road work ahead

Two state projects on Highway 29 in this area are shown in orange. Graphic | Echo Press

There's road work ahead - more than $1 billon of it.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced its 2012 construction program Thursday consisting of 316 projects around the state with a total construction cost of $1.1 billion.

In and around the Douglas County area, drivers can expect to see crews working on eight state road and bridge projects.

One of the more visible projects will be resurfacing three miles of the main drag through Alexandria - Highway 29, which turns into Broadway, from 50th Avenue all the way to 8th Avenue.

The $2 million project is designed to improve pedestrian accessibility.

It will start this August and will wrap up in September. Some lanes will be closed while work is under way.

Other projects in this area include:

• Highway 29 work from Douglas County Road 28 to Highway 55. It includes resurfacing 10 miles of road, replacing culverts, building turning lanes and installing cross arms at the railroad crossing north of Highway 55.

Cost: $3.15 million.

Timeline: August through September.

Impact: A one-month detour will be set up during the culvert, turn lane and railroad crossing work. Lanes will be closed and a pilot car will lead traffic through the construction zone.

• Resurfacing 15 miles of Highway 28 from Highway 55 in Glenwood to the Pope/Stevens county line.

Cost: $3.3 million.

Timeline: June to July.

Impact: Lane closures with pilot car.

• Resurfacing 16 miles of Highway 28 in Glenwood to Pope County Road 29. Culverts will also be replaced.

Cost: $2.55 million.

Timeline: May to June.

Impact: Three-week detour during culvert work and lane closures with a pilot car.

• West-bound I-94 lanes near Alexandria. Crews will resurface I-94 from one mile east of Douglas County Road 17 to Alexandria. Another part of the project is resurfacing Highway 10 from Detroit Lakes to Frazee.

Cost: $2 million.

Timeline: June.

Impact: Lane closures.

• Replacing and repairing culverts on Highways 27, 55, 114, 28, 12, 75 and 119 in west central Minnesota.

Cost: $1.5 million.

Timeline: September to November.

Impact: Detours.

• Bridge painting on Interstate 94 in west central Minnesota and State Highways 10, 28, 55 and 108.

Cost: $700,000.

Timeline: June to September.

Impact: Lane closures.

• Highways 27, 55, 59 and 12. Rumble strips and pavement markings will be placed at several locations.

Cost: $539,200.

Timeline: August to September.

Impact: Lane closures.

MnDOT is putting the word out early so drivers will be prepared for the busy road construction ahead.

"MnDOT is focused on improving our highways and maximizing the capacity of the system," said Tom Sorel, MnDOT commissioner. "Our transportation system is vital to the state's economy and to its citizens' quality of life. We want to ensure that it provides a safe and efficient trip for all users."

This year's state highway construction projects include work on the Interstate I-694/Highway 10 interchange in the Twin Cities and the final wrap-up of bridge and pavement replacement on a section of I-35 in Duluth.

Other projects improve safety at railroad crossings, repair seawalls and docks and make improvements on runways and terminals at regional airports.

"This year's program will also aid the state's economy by supporting thousands of jobs this year," Sorel added. "The highway construction industry employs thousands and is a key partner in our efforts to deliver this program."

During construction and road maintenance work, MnDOT urges drivers to:

• Check 511 for up-to-date information about traffic and road conditions.

• Stay alert, expect the unexpected.

• Minimize distractions: Don't use cell phones; remember text messaging while driving is illegal; and don't eat or drink while driving.

• Follow posted speed limits; fines double in work zones.

• Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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