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Paynesville Press - May 14, 2003

Construction to start on Highway 23 next week

By Michael Jacobson

Motorists who use Highway 23 between Cold Spring and Richmond should allow for extra travel time starting next week, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Construction on Highway 23 between Cold Spring and Richmond is expected to begin in earnest next week, according to MnDOT.

MnDOT is in the middle of a four-year project to expand Highway 23 to four lanes between I-94 and Richmond. Work in 2003 will concentrate on a 7.3-mile section between Cold Spring and Richmond.

Efforts during the 2003 construction season will concentrate on the western two-thirds of the project, from the west city limits of Cold Spring to about one-half mile west of the Sauk River bridge in Richmond, said Micky Klasen, MnDOT project supervisor.

Two lanes with two-way traffic will be maintained throughout the construction corridor for the duration of work, which should last into November.

A variety of traffic restrictions will be used in the construction zone: temporary daylight lane closures, lane shifts, reduced speeds, flag persons, construction workers, and equipment in close proximity to the existing roadway, and increased truck traffic. Motorists traveling between Cold Spring and Richmond should plan accordingly and allow extra travel time, warns MnDOT.

The most serious construction activity this year will take place in Richmond to about a mile west of Cold Spring. Both the cities of Cold Spring and Richmond also have other road projects being done this summer.

Construction in Cold Spring - including the replacement of the bridge over the Sauk River - is scheduled to take place in 2004, when there will be a detour through Cold Spring. Some building removals and clearing in and around Cold Spring will take place this season, however.

Construction will begin next week in Richmond with the widening of the bridge over the Sauk River just west of the intersection with Highway 22. Motorists should expect lane shifts and reduced speeds 24 hours per day, seven days per week, in the vicinity of the bridge.

For the rest of the work this summer, motorists will use temporary bypass lanes on Highway 23, with the exception of the two-mile segment between Co. Rd. 71 to Co. Rd. 158, where the new four-lane roadway will be shifted to the north and construction should have minimal impact on Highway 23 traffic.

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