Road construction projects are in full swing and will affect drivers throughout Washington County.
The project that might affect the most drivers is MnDOT's resurfacing and rehabilitation of a six-mile segment of Interstate 694 between Hwy. 61 and N. 40th Street.
Work began earlier this month, and the 62,000 motorists who use the stretch of highway that passes through Maplewood, Mahtomedi, Pine Springs, White Bear Lake and Oakdale have encountered delays of 45 minutes or more during rush hours.
Single-lane traffic, which currently affects only one side of the highway, eventually is expected to involve both sides of the interstate. It will remain in place through October as crews replace centerline culverts and guardrails, make bridge deck repairs, and reconstruct ramps at Hwy. 61, White Bear Avenue, Century Avenue and Hwy. 36. The project will cost about $20 million.
Motorists who use Hwy. 61 to head north will find closures and detours between Hwy. 96 in White Bear Lake and Hwy. 97 in Forest Lake. Work on resurfacing the highway, replacing centerline culverts, adding rumble strips and upgrading a traffic signal at Buffalo Street begins in July and is set to last through October. The cost is $4.5 million. Also, there's a pavement overlay project on N. Egg Lake Road (County Road 8) from Forest Blvd. to Goodview Avenue N. That is wrapping up this week, said Cory Slagle, engineering and construction manager for Washington County.
A new crossing over the St. Croix River might not come fast enough for drivers who use the historic Lift Bridge connecting Stillwater with western Wisconsin. The 80-year old bridge will be closed from September to December as MnDOT does steel repair and upgrades electrical and mechanical components. Detours will be posted. Look for work along 3rd Street (County Road 23) from Orleans Street to near Willard Street starting in August and running until October.
A major upgrade of the south side of Broadway Avenue continues between SW. 7th Street and Centennial Drive. Work on the north side was done in 2011. While two lanes of the four-lane thoroughfare will remain open, traffic is being detoured via Hwy. 61, 2nd Avenue SW. and SW. 7th Street. Broadway is being reconstructed to handle an increasing traffic volume. It is linked to a rebuilt interchange at Broadway and Interstate 35. Work is scheduled to wrap up in late August or early September with installation of traffic lights along Broadway and streetscaping.
No major traffic delays are expected along Hwy. 36 at Osgood Avenue as crews replace pipes in the area, but there could be some temporary closures, MnDOT said.
Valley Creek Road, a major east-west artery through the heart of the city, will be torn up starting the week of July 9 and into September as crews repave the segment between Interlachen Parkway and Bielenberg Drive. The work also includes replacing broken storm sewers, improving accessibility of pedestrian ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and upgrading traffic signals. "There will be significant impacts to traffic during construction," the city said. Several neighborhood streets also are undergoing work this summer.
Crews will repave N. 10th Street from the I-694 overpass to 300 feet east of Inwood Av. during July, Slagle said.
New pavement is being laid on N. Square Lake Trail (also known as Washington County Road 59) from Square Lake Trail to Hwy. 95. Work is expected to be complete this week.
New pavement will be laid on N. 40th Street/Olinda Blvd. (County Road 14) from Manning Avenue N. to the railroad crossing just south of N. 47th Street. That project might be pushed off until 2013 due to budget constraints, Slagle said.
Tim Harlow • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @timstrib