Construction begins Monday on final segment of MN 60 four-lane project
BINGHAM LAKE -- Nearly 50 people gathered in Bingham Lake Monday night for an open house sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to discuss the final phase of the Minnesota 60 four-lane expansion project.
BINGHAM LAKE - Nearly 50 people gathered in Bingham Lake Monday night for an open house sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to discuss the final phase of the Minnesota 60 four-lane expansion project.
Construction is slated to begin Monday on the eight-mile stretch between Windom and Mountain Lake. Mathiowetz Construction, Leavenworth, was awarded the $19.68 million contract for the work.
“Most of the earth work will be done this year as far as building the new grade for the westbound lanes,” said MnDOT Project Engineer Bob Williams, Windom. “Next year we will be paving early summer the new concrete lanes and shoulders.”
Once the paving is done on the new westbound lanes in summer 2018, traffic will be moved onto the new roadway as the contractor repairs the existing two lanes, adding in new shoulders and a bituminous overlay before the entire project is completed and the four-lane highway opened in the fall.
The completion of this final phase of Minnesota 60 will result in a full four-lane divided highway from Omaha, Neb., to the Twin Cities.
It’s been a long time coming for residents of southwest Minnesota, and in particular, the Highway 60 Action Corporation that was established in 1965 to push for a four-lane corridor of commerce from the Iowa State Line to Mankato.
Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder joined the Highway 60 group 34 years ago at the encouragement of Don Rickers, one of the group’s founders. Schnieder has served as the group’s chairman for many years.
“We’re very excited to have this coming to a conclusion - it’s been a lot of work by a lot of people who founded the organization and kept it going for all these years,” Schnieder said. “I did not feel that it would take 34 more years to complete this project. I don’t think the people who founded it thought it would take 52 or 53 years to see it through, either.”
Schnieder said persistence from the group with legislators helped to keep Minnesota 60 on the state’s list of priority highway expansion projects.
“The biggest challenge all along the way has been funding - having enough money to do these projects,” he said. “We always thought we were going to beat Iowa to the border. Iowa did a good job putting money into it to keep it going.”
Williams has been working with the Minnesota 60 four-lane expansion project since he moved to Windom in 2001. At that time, the segment from Heron Lake to Wilder was under construction.
“Then we started working south of Worthington, did the Bigelow bypass and worked north from there,” Williams said. “We’ve been focusing now on the gaps between St. James and Windom. This is the last one, and the district will refocus its efforts on Highway 14, taking that to four-lane as well between New Ulm and Mankato.”
Williams said there are no planned detours during the final phase of construction on Minnesota 60 between Windom and Mountain Lake.
“We will have lane restrictions,” he noted. Concrete barriers will be placed along the shoulders as crews begin work on box culverts. Traffic lanes will be narrowed during the work.
“Watch out for construction equipment,” urged Williams, asking drivers to be cognizant of their surroundings, including construction equipment and crossing traffic.
As part of the project, Williams said MnDOT will install both living and structural snow fences in areas along the route. Wider ditch sections will also be created to catch and trap snow before it reaches the highway.
Once the four-lane expansion is completed, Schnieder said the Highway 60 Action Corp. will host a celebration for the completion of the highway.