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Paynesville Press - November 10, 2004

Highway 23 detour ends in Cold Spring

By Michael Jacobson

Highway 23, in Cold Spring, reopened last week, ending a seven-month detour while a new bridge over the Sauk River was built.

One lane in each direction over that bridge was opened to traffic on Wednesday, Nov. 10, according to MnDOT project supervisor Micky Klasen.

Traffic has been detoured through downtown Cold Spring since April as crews demolished the old bridge and constructed a new four-lane structure in the same location. All four lanes of the bridge are expected to open this week.

Weather permitting, the remainder of the 7.5-mile segment of the Highway 23 four-lane expansion in Stearns County, from the west junction of Co. Rd. 140 on the east end of Cold Spring to a half mile west of Richmond, is also set to open to traffic this week.

"Completing the four-lane expansion of Highway 23, from Interstate 94 to Richmond, is a significant step in the right direction in providing for the transportation needs of the region and the state," said MnDOT District 3 engineer Bob Busch.

In addition, Highway 23 traffic will be switched onto the newly constructed four-lane divided highway, about a mile west of Cold Spring (near the Rich-Springs Golf Course) to the west junction of Co. Rd. 140, ending the staged construction for the new four-lane divided highway.

Motorists should be alert for intermittent lane closures in the Highway 23 corridor as crews complete the final layer of bituminous, sidewalks, median island, striping, and turf establishment.

The construction of a road to Gold 'n' Plump and the connection to Main Street in Cold Spring will proceed after the detour is lifted.

Final completion of this project will take place in the spring of 2005.

The work concludes the final stage of the four-lane expansion of the 14-mile corridor of Highway 23 between I-94 and Richmond. Completed in four construction stages between 2001 and 2004, the project had a total cost of $60 million. This includes the construction contracts, right-of-way acquisition, and engineering.

In 2000, under MnDOT's Moving Minnesota initiative, the state legislature allocated a one-time lump sum of funding for MnDOT to use to make significant improvements to the state's interregional corridors. Highway 23 is an interregional corridor and qualified for the special funding.

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