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News from around the state

How should the improved High Bridge in St. Paul look? MnDOT is asking for opinions

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will put a new deck on the Smith Avenue High Bridge later this year, and in the process will upgrade its curb appeal.

That's where community members come in. MnDOT will host an open house to allow residents to provide input on aesthetic design options under consideration. The meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in the community room at Bad Weather Brewery, 414 W. 7th St. in St. Paul.

Work on the $22 million project is slated to begin in the fall and also includes resurfacing Smith Avenue/Dodd Road - also known as Hwy. 149 - between W. 7th Street and Interstate 494 in Mendota Heights. Five intersections along the route will get new traffic signals. A new left turn lane from westbound I-494 to southbound Dodd Road will be added. MnDOT also will improve drainage, build better sidewalks and upgrade pedestrian accessibility. Ash trees in the project area also will be removed.

All that work, of course, will mean the High Bridge will be closed for one entire construction season, from the fall of 2017 to the fall of 2018.

Hwy. 169 bridge closure in Edina delayed once more

Drivers who use the Nine Mile Creek Bridge on Hwy. 169 between Bren Road and 5th Street/Lincoln Drive on the Minnetonka-Edina border will have more time to find alternate routes.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is delaying the bridge demolition project that was to start on Tuesday, said spokesman David Aeikens.

The agency did not say when the nine-month project to rebuild the bridge used by 90,000 motorists a day would begin, but that it won't be a lengthy postponement, Aeikens said.

It's not the weather that is pushing back the start of the project in which MnDOT will replace the aging bridge with a raised bridge looking like a causeway over the low marshy area. A number of wires used by the Federal Aviation Administration that lay under the bridge were to be removed before work could commence, and they are still in place.

"They can not be damaged" so we will wait for them to be taken out, Aeikens said.

This is the second time the $64 million project has been delayed. Last week MnDOT called off the start due to the cold and snowy weather. When it begins, the bridge will closed until October. This spring, Hwy. 169  will be down to one lane in both directions between Hwy. 55 and Lincoln Drive and from Bren Road to the Crosstown as the agency rehabs 6 miles of pavement. Ramps at 7th Street, Excelsior Boulevard, Hwy. 7, Cedar Lake Road and 36th Street will be closed for two weeks at various times through the summer.