Oxford Street construction in the works
WORTHINGTON — Bump. Bump. Bump.
Most Worthington residents feel the bumps on Oxford Street between Humiston Avenue east to the Minnesota 60 roundabout.
While some work has been performed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) this summer to smooth out the ride for motorists, a total fix of the roadway won’t happen for another three years.
“The details of the project are still being worked out, but Oxford Street is going to be a part of a large road construction project beginning in 2017,” said MnDOT’s Public Information Officer Rebecca Arndt.
The estimated $2 million project is just one of many slated to take place across southwest Minnesota, and Arndt explained that MnDOT has been anticipating these projects.
“Worthington isn’t the only city in the district that has pavement issues,” she said. “However, we focused a lot of our resources into expanding Highway 60 and Highway 14, and we sort of took a risk by doing that.
“We knew that when we began the expansion of Highway 60 and 14 … this was an investment decision, so we’re playing catch-up with improving pavements,” she added.
Although that part of Oxford Street is within the city limits, MnDOT District 7 Maintenance Superintendent Tom Zimmerman explained why that portion is technically a state road, and that the city of Worthington is not responsible for its maintenance.
“Oxford Street is just a continuation of U.S. Highway 59, so it is technically a state road that is maintained by MnDOT,” Zimmerman said.
MnDOT has taken steps to repair the portion of Oxford Street so it will hold up until the large construction project begins.
“For the past two to three weeks, we have been working on both directions of that portion of the road in that inside lane where the road is really rough and noisy,” Zimmerman explained. “First we tried milling it with a milling head, and filling it back in with asphalt, and that worked OK.
“Then we tried a different method of bump burning to heat up the pavement, and then we physically shaved the high spots, then we used oil and sand to seal the pavement back up and that worked a lot better.”
While crews worked on the inside lanes, Zimmerman said the outside lanes weren’t as bad.
“We’re doing all we can do, and doing the best to keep up the road until the big project,” he added.
“We’re trying to improve the pavements as much as we can, (however) within reason,” said Arndt.
Worthington Director of Engineering Dwayne Haffield said the longevity of these repairs will depend on the weather.
“The success of these types of repairs will depend on the seasons. If we have a winter where we see snow melting and then a freeze overnight, that is hard on roads,” he explained. “What seems like a mild winter for us doesn’t mean that it’s better for the roads.”
The 2017 project is still in the planning stages, and not all of the pavement construction projects have been announced. For more information on other road projects, visit www.dot.state.mn.us.