WINDOM - Orange cones and lane restrictions will soon start popping up as the construction season kicks off near Heron Lake and through Windom.
On Thursday, members of the Minnesota Department of Transportation and project engineers hosted a construction open house for Windom and Heron Lake-area residents just ahead of construction kicking off next week.
Construction of the MnDOT’s $3.8 million Heron Lake intersection safety project is slated to begin Monday on the first of three J-turns.
According to project and construction managers, the Minnesota 60 and 10th Street (Jackson County 9) J-turn will be constructed first, which will require motorists find alternative access routes to Heron Lake by utilizing Jackson County 24 or Jackson County 43. Pending no major weather-related delays, the intersection is tentatively scheduled to open June 8. Construction crews will then shift to Jackson County 24 and Jackson County 43 to construct those J-turns.
According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, traffic impacts will be minimal, but lane and speed restriciton should be expected.
The first stage of a $3.1 construction project on Minnesota 60 through Windom is scheduled to begin May 6.
According project manager Forrest Hasty, underline and Americans with Disabilities Act work will begin at that time in the southbound lanes. The project in its entirety will include storm sewer work, sidewalk crossingings for ADA compliance and road resurfacing from Sixth Street to 490th Avenue in Windom.
While the construction project was planned and developed well in advance, Hasty said last winter was really tough on MnDOT roadways, and Minnesota 60 through Windom was no exception.
While the project should result in a 10- to 15-year fix, Hasty and construction project engineer Dan Franta didn’t sugarcoat the likely traffic impacts this summer. He said bumper-to-bumper traffic can be expected.
“There’s going to be delays, and there’s going to be congestion,” added Hasty. “It’s going to be difficult for a short time, but when we’re done there’s not going to be any potholes.”
Hasty said detour routes were considered, but given an average daily traffic count of 13,500 through the middle of town, there wasn’t a decent option that wouldn’t threaten the conditions of the surrounding county roads.
Franta noted that all intersections (Seventh to 12th streets) will be impacted through much of the project, if not all.
While the contractor is required to leave access to businesses and residences along the path, access back on to Minnesota 60 may not be guaranteed.
Franta said the construction firm Duininck Inc. of Albert Lea has been given an incentive of $2,500 each day the project is completed before Sept. 20. Considering that incentive, Franta said the company has submitted what he called an aggressive schedule. Motorists should expect delays while the construction crew works from about 7 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m., six days a week.
“They’re hoping to be done by sometime in August,” Franta said, adding that the aggressive schedule doesn’t account much for weather delays.
Hasty said future plans go beyond this summer’s pavement preservation.
MnDOT will embark on a corridor study sometime in July. The study, which Hasty expects to occur for more than a year, will gather input from Windom-area businesses and residents before developing future projects.
More information about both construction projects are available online.
For Heron Lake J-turns, visit: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d7/projects/hwy60heronlake/
For Minnesota 60 through Windom, visit: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d7/projects/hwy60windom/