Minn. Hwy. 13 is going to be jammed

Published 10:45 am Thursday, April 15, 2010

Minnesota Highway 13 from Interstate 90 to Minnesota Highway 30 near New Richland will be redone starting July 12 through September. About 15 miles of the highway will get a bituminous overlay.

There will be a heavy amount of traffic in the area because of other construction projects at the same time, most notably the Bent Tree Wind Farm.

“We’re concerned about the weight they’ll be transporting on the roads,” Kristine Hernandez said. “We’re timing things with them.”

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Hernandez works in the District 6 office of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The state engineers are concerned about the amount of trucks that will be on the road because of the wind farm. The wind farm was originally supposed to be completed last year, and the Highway 13 construction was postponed so they wouldn’t be working on the main road with all the heavy truck traffic.

“They’ll start working before and during and after we’re working,” Hernandez said. “It’s unfortunate they didn’t get the project done last year because now we have to work on the same road.”

The trucks will be allowed on the roads even if it’s single lane, though MnDOT is concerned about the heavy traffic on shoulders because the shoulders on highways aren’t as thickly paved.

“The turbines are 12 feet wide, and they’ll be restricted from going through the work zone because it would be a safety hazard,” Hernandez said.

The other trucks hauling gravel, dirt and concrete will be allowed to go through work areas like any other semi would. The trucks are allowed on the roadway like any other traffic and will not be compensating MnDOT. Hernandez would like motorists to know that there will be a large amount of traffic.

“We’ve got a pilot car to help traffic get through,” Hernandez said.

The Highway 13 project has an estimated cost of more than $4 million. The project will have some detours and motorists will need to have patience.

“There will be daily lane closures with flaggers and a short term detour during culvert replacement,” Hernandez said.

Beginning in mid-July traffic will be detoured onto Freeborn County Roads 14, 20 and 31 for about two weeks. Two culverts are being replaced. One is about 2,000 feet north of the Highway 13 and County Road 14 intersection and the other is about one half mile north of Manchester.

She said Ulland Brothers Inc. won the contract bid and will probably be hiring subcontractors. The Freeborn County Engineer’s Office is also concerned about traffic in that area and will be notified of any detours necessary on county roads.

“If we did a detour on a county road we would give them payment for use of the road as a detour,” Hernandez said.

Freeborn County Engineer Sue Miller also said that the county has detour agreements with MnDOT based on the number of days the county roads are used. Miller also said the county has an agreement with representatives from Alliant Energy for the wind farm project.

“They’ve indicated to us that they’ll repair roads to existing conditions or better,” Miller said, referring to roads managed by the county, not the state.

She said that this will be a learning experience because it’s something the county has never dealt with before.

“As we go forward we’re just waiting to learn how it’ll play out,” Miller said.