Freeways won’t be tied up this summer

Published 10:01 am Thursday, June 12, 2008

The interstate highways in Freeborn County are relatively construction free this summer, according to Kristine Hernandez, Minnesota Department of Transportation public affairs coordinator.

Within the county, there is no work scheduled for Interstate 35.

Starting July 7, MnDOT will work in Mower County doing concrete overlays on the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 from Dexter, on the east side of Austin, to Stewartville, near Rochester. The work will continue until the middle of November, according to MnDOT Project Engineer Paul Schauer.

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It will be a large project, Hernandez said, that will span more than 20 miles. The area gets a lot of complaints about bumpiness.

Traffic will be disrupted with this project. Schauer said the westbound lanes will be shifted to the eastbound lanes, causing one-lane traffic in both directions.

This project was not expected to start this soon, Hernandez said, but with bond funds made available in the most recent transportation bill, “which was a huge plus for our area,” the project was accelerated.

The total cost is $11.4 million, and Hernandez said MnDOT is using 2009 money since the beginning of July is a new fiscal year.

I-90 has an ongoing sign project that started in May. Workers will replace all signs along I-90 in Freeborn, Mower and Olmsted counties from Alden to state Highway 63 — except Austin, which was already done.

Schauer said most signs are already replaced. Crews still need to replace the overhead signs and large signs on the shoulder along I-90. This phase of the project will not be complete until the overlay along the interstate is done is mid-November.

Hernandez said crews should be mainly on the shoulder working on the signs, unless work is needed on overhead signs. The project should not impact traffic, she said.

The total project cost to replace signs is $662,000, Schauer said.