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Paynesville Press - July 28, 2010

Highway 23 work going on schedule

By Michael Jacobson

Construction of a four-land bypass of town on schedule

Backhoe Despite plenty of rain, the construction of a four-lane Highway 23 bypass of Paynesville is on schedule. "It's going really well," said MnDOT engineer Paul Rasmussen, who is supervising the construction.

At left: a backhoe dragged part of a new concrete culvert into place.

"Even though it's rained a lot this spring, it's sandy soil, so we're on schedule or a little ahead."

In general, fill is needed in the center of the project - for bridges over the railroad, Highway 55, and the Crow River, as well as a bridge for Veteran's Drive over the new highway. Grading is being done on the ends of the project (to the Kandiyohi/Stearns county line to the west and to a mile east of Paynesville on the east), with the dirt being used for the bridges at the center of the project, which has a price tag of $50 million, including $32 million for construction.

GraderAt left: Grader moving fill.

"That's still basically the plan. They're still grading on the ends and bringing the fill to the middle. As they need more fill, they start working further out," said Rasmussen. So far, the east abutment is done for the Veteran's Drive bridge, center pier is done, and crews are working on the west abutment. For the new bridge over the Crow River (right now, construction crews are using a temporary bridge), one abutment is done, the piers in the river are nearly done, and the other abutment is in progress. (The temporary bridge must be out by the end of the year.) Work started last week on the metal pilings for the railroad bridge, followed by the concrete abutments.

Working by retention pond Work has just started on moving fill for the Highway 55 bridge, according to Rasmussen. Work has also started on a 20-acre stormwater pond between the Xcel Energy substation and the city sewer ponds.

At right: Working on new retention pond.

The only bituminous paving planned for 2010 is the new Veteran's Drive, a new street starting across from the high school parking lot and run- ning between Paynesville Inn and Suites and the Car Wash. This new street will go over the new Highway 23 and connect to Cemetery Road maybe a half mile out of town. "By contract, that road has to be opened this fall, and it looks like that'll happen by October," said Rasmussen. "That bridge is the key to opening that section (of road)."

This new street needs to be finished in order to close off existing Main Street West (which currently turns into Cemetery Road). Main Street will be made into a cul-de-sac. and work can then continue on the new Crow River bridge.

So far, MnDOT and KGM Contractors of Angora have put temporary stop signs on Main Street and Co. Rd. 130 and closed Lake Avenue (north of the Crow River). They have used flaggers on Highway 55 if scrappers are crossing the road frequently. (The scrappers, loaded with 22 yards of dirt, are hard to stop, said Rasmussen, who warned drivers to be careful when driving near the construction and thanked everyone for their patience so far. Work should start soon by Co. Rd. 33, where stop signs will also be erected.

Bridgework MnDOT and KGM are holding bi-weekly meetings on Thursdays at 1 p.m. at the Paynesville American Legion: for the public to ask questions about the project. So far, a concern about dust was addressed by KGM bringing down a second water truck, said Rasmussen. Future public meetings are scheduled for: Thursday, Aug. 5; Thursday, Aug. 19; Thursday, Sept. 2; Thursday, Sept. 16; Thursday, Sept. 30; Thursday, Oct. 14; and Thursday, Oct. 28.

At right: Bridgework being done on new Highway 23 bypass.

Rasmussen predicted that work on the highway project would continue this fall as long as the weather allows. "I'm sure as long as the job is open they'll go until Mother Nature tells them to stop for the winter," he said.

Contact the author at editor@paynesvillepress.com   •   Return to Highway 23 page

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