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MN 60 work to start in July

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Work on the Minnesota 60 bypass around Bigelow, seen in this vantage point three miles north of Bigelow, is shown in this Nov. 29, 2007, file photo. Construction on the next phase of the highway's expansion project is expected to begin in mid-July.

WORTHINGTON -- With bids for the next phase of the Minnesota 60 four-lane expansion project due to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) in less than three weeks, construction is still on track to start sometime around mid-July.

The good news is that there will not be a detour this year for the project.

Rebecca Arndt, Public Affairs Coordinator with MnDOT's District 7 office in Mankato, said the decision to avoid a detour in 2010 was made in January.

"We're going to keep traffic on the existing road until spring 2011," said Keith Bloomgren, resident engineer of the Windom office of MnDOT. "(The contractor) will be grading the northbound lanes adjacent to the present roadway."

The detour, using Nobles County 4 and 5, will begin in the spring of 2011, he added.

"We wanted to avoid a detour over winter," Bloomgren said.

Bidletting for the next phase, from the Bigelow bypass to Nobles County 10, is slated for April 23. Bloomgren said MnDOT will know which contractor submitted the low bid for the work at that time, and then begin the process to award the contract about three or four weeks after the bid opening.

Meanwhile, MnDOT has finished the plans for the first phase of the four-lane expansion and the rights-of-way have been acquired.

"There are some parcels or property owners that we have to go through eminent domain (with)," said Marc Flygare, MnDOT traffic engineer. The eminent domain process utilizes a commission of individuals to establish what the damage to the property will be.

Flygare said 14 homes have been acquired by MnDOT for eventual demolition for the first two phases of the project. The second phase extends from Nobles County 10 to Nobles County 35, and includes the removal of about a dozen homes.

"We are required to go through the process to make sure there is no asbestos, and the contractor has been checking those houses over," said Flygare. "There will be a separate contract awarded this spring for removal of those houses."

Work still continues between MnDOT and the residents of the Sungold Heights trailer park. Those relocations are due to the third phase of the expansion project, which extends from Nobles County 35 to Interstate 90.

Arndt welcomes the public to visit the MnDOT Web site for additional information on the Minnesota 60 four-lane expansion project. The next MnDOT-hosted public meeting on the project is planned for a date yet to be determined in June in Worthington.

On the Net:

www.dot.state.mn.us/d7/projects/hwy60/index.html

Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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