Minnesota 60 plan detailed
WORTHINGTON -- While there still may be areas of snow yet to melt in Worthington, summer has to be around the corner, and with that comes the final year of road construction on the Minnesota 60 four-lane expansion project through town.
With a colored map depicting plans for the road construction project displayed across several tables, city officials, business representatives and community members looked over the drawings and asked questions of Minnesota Department of Transportation officials during a public open house Wednesday afternoon in Worthington.
Work is slated to start up once again on the project in May, or as soon as weather permits, according to Bob Williams, MnDOT project engineer.
A few tasks have yet to be completed on the Phase 2 project, such as striping, sidewalks and turf establishment, all of which will be done this spring. In addition, the storm sewer work that was ongoing in 2012 will be finished so crews can begin working on the road reconstruction.
As a result of recent rains, snow and ice, the construction season isn't able to start as early as it did last year. Once work is able to begin, however, detours will once again be in place.
Motorists traveling U.S. 59 will detour to the west, following Oxford Street to Crailsheim Drive (Nobles County 10) and then south to U.S. 59/Minnesota 60. Those traveling on Minnesota 60 will again detour to the east, using Nobles County 3 and 35. The exception will be traffic coming from the south that needs to reach I-90. Those people will follow Nobles County 35 to Minnesota 264 (the Round Lake-Brewster road) for interstate access.
Westbound I-90 traffic will still be able to use the on-off ramp at Minnesota 60 throughout this construction season, Williams added.
Once road work begins, Williams said crews will focus on the north end of the project, from Armour Road north to the Blue Line Travel Center. The goal is to provide the least amount of inconvenience to traffic needing to access JBS, Ron's Repair and other businesses in that area of Worthington.
The contract for that portion of the project is due to be completed by the end of July, weather permitting.
"The final completion date for everything else is early November, except for landscaping," Williams said, adding that with the completion of the third phase, Highway 60 will be a continuous four-lane highway from Omaha, Neb., to Windom.
In 2014, as landscaping begins along the newly created highway in Worthington, MnDOT crews will work on completing the three gaps in Minnesota 60 -- the stretches of two-lane highway between Windom and St. James.
Work will begin this summer on the Butterfield to St. James stretch, and when that two-year project is completed, the middle gap -- from Mountain Lake to Butterfield -- will begin. In 2017, the final stretch from Windom to Mountain Lake will begin. Each of those timelines are as funding allows, said Williams, adding that those projects will be funded with regular district dollars, whereas the highway expansion project through Worthington is being done with bonded money.
The Worthington project, already with one roundabout in place near Worthington Power and Equipment, will ultimately include three roundabouts. The next to be completed will be at the I-90 westbound on-off ramps -- planned to open at the end of July -- and finally, the roundabout that merges 59/60 traffic with Oxford Street. That roundabout is located on the former trailer park property.
As of yet, Williams hasn't heard of many issues with the first roundabout, which has been in use for a few months.
"Once people see it and use it, they become very accepting of it," he said, adding that the roundabouts help to reduce speed of motorists coming into the city.
In addition to the roundabouts, a stoplight will be added at the Armour Road intersection with Minnesota 60.
Williams said the Phase 3 project will be "somewhat simpler" than the Phase 2 work, with easier to navigate detours and fewer major changes in traffic flow. Construction signs will be placed throughout the work zone, and changeable message boards will again be used to alert motorists.
R&G Construction of Marshall, the primary contractor on the Phase 2 project, will lead the Phase 3 work.
Williams encourages motorists to pay attention to the signs and be alert to changes as the project progresses.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.