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Minnesota 60 detour begins late Monday

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe The signage is in place along Nobles County State Aid Highway 4 of the scheduled detour for US 59 and MN 60. The detour will begin late Monday

WORTHINGTON -- Mailboxes have been relocated, new striping is complete and the signs are going up all along the detour route as Minnesota Department of Transportation officials gear up to reroute traffic from Minnesota 60 onto the Nobles County State Aid Highway system.

Bob Williams, MnDOT District 7 project engineer of Windom, said the detour will start late Monday and continue through November, routing traffic off of Minnesota 60 to CSAH 4 north of Bigelow, then east to CSAH 5, north to CSAH 35 and back west to meet up with the state highway again at the intersection near Worthington Power & Equipment.

Williams said Mathiowetz Construction, the contractor for the project, has been bringing in more equipment and making up for some of the time they lost with the wet fall last year.

"They've got a good start on finishing up some of last year's work," Williams said.

When the detour starts late Monday, workers will begin to remove pavement and continue with earthwork as the four-lane expansion project moves forward.

Today, MnDOT will conduct a bid letting for several other jobs related to the Minnesota 60 expansion, including the job of replacing the railroad bridge in Worthington. Williams said that project will begin this summer. Also targeted to begin in June is the second phase of the project, extending from Worthington Ag Parts to south of the railroad bridge.

"We'll have all three projects going on at the same time," he added.

The detour route along CSAH 4, 5 and 35 is anticipated to remain in place just during this year's construction season. Because of the additional traffic on those roads, residents living there have had their mailboxes moved to the nearest crossroad as a safety measure.

"We worked with the post office to make sure they're all easily accessible for people to deliver their mail and pick it up," Williams said. "When the detour comes off late this year, (the temporary boxes) will be taken down."

In selecting the detour route, Williams said MnDOT looked at using roads closest to the actual highway. The chosen route does a good job of getting people to Worthington without going too many miles out of the way, but some farmers are already worried that people will take a shorter route along Nobles County 57.

That's a concern as farmers just begin to get their planters and tillage equipment into the fields.

"There is never any perfect situation here," Williams said. "The detour route will be very well signed."

Electronic speed signs will be placed at both the south and north ends of the detour, and speed limit signs are being installed every couple of miles. No over-width vehicles will be permitted to take the detour route.

"We did stripe an extra wide edge line and we did some paving of some weaker areas of the road," said Williams. "That will be the new state highway for the duration of construction, so expect to see the Highway Patrol out there."

The four-lane expansion project has been moving along relatively smoothly so far, but Williams said the weather will have a lot to do with whether contractors can keep the project on schedule.

"The biggest friend or enemy will be the weather because of all the earthwork involved," he said. "That's the main thing that's going to happen this year and most of next year."

Concrete contractors are anticipated to begin paving work in late August to mid-September.

Meanwhile, progress continues on the removal of the trailer park on the east side of Worthington. Williams said an assessment consultant company is working at the site now to assess and abate the asbestos. When that is completed, they will then do the same with the regulated waste.

"We are required by law to remove things like mercury, lead and all these hazardous things that should not end up in the landfill," said Williams. The trailers are targeted for removal in August, and then the site will be leveled and cleared.

Williams said an open house MnDOT plans in Worthington later this spring, after the contractors have been selected for the next phases of the project.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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