Beginning of the end for viaduct bridge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 17, 2001

This winter will be the Viaduct Bridge’s last.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

This winter will be the Viaduct Bridge’s last.

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Workers began excavation along the south side of West Main Street between Euclid and Ermina Avenue Monday in preparation for a $112,000 sewer relocation. City Engineer Dave Olson said the project will clear the way for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to begin replacing the viaduct bridge in February.

&uot;We’ve got to move about two blocks worth of sewer and water to get out of the way of MnDOT’s plans for a new West Main bridge,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s one of the last jobs of the season for us.&uot;

Olson said workers from Sorenson Brothers have until Nov. 22 to complete the project, which relocates the two lines about 40 feet to the south. Sewer and water customers will experience no interruption in service while the new lines are installed, he said.

&uot;We’re really hoping for a nice easy fall to help this project along,&uot; Olson said.

According to Brian Jergenson, MnDOT public affairs officer, the sewer had to be relocated because it would likely collapse under the weight of the earthen approaches for the new bridge.

The viaduct bridge needs to be replaced, he said, because its concrete supports are failing. The new bridge will have a shorter four-lane span. A signal light will also be installed at the intersection of First Avenue and West Main.

&uot;When the bridge project is complete, Albert Lea will have a nice four-lane road all the way through town,&uot; Jergenson said.

The bridge contract will be let in December, with work beginning in February 2002. Traffic will be detoured to Front Street while the Viaduct Bridge is dismantled, he said.

The entire project could be finished as early as November 2002.