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• MnDOT is writing a curriculum that schools can use to teach students about the work behind the bridge project.
The S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) program will make engineers and materials available to classes and already involves schools in Stillwater and Somerset, Hudson, New Richmond and Houlton in western Wisconsin.
Schools wanting to participate can contact McFarland Brooks at 651-366-4280.
• A new parking lot will be built east of Club Tara, a longtime restaurant south of Hwy. 36 in Oak Park Heights.
• MnDOT is working with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office on a Code Red capability that would enable e-mail alerts to specific residents affected by construction.
• Protected mussel populations have been found on the Wisconsin side of the bridge project and no work will occur there until conservationists from both states are able to move them, McFarland Brooks said. These are different from zebra mussels, an invasive species that temporarily halted barge work recently.
Work begins soon on rebuilding frontage roads along Hwy. 36 through Oak Park Heights. Later stages will include reconstructing and realigning Hwy. 36 and rebuilding intersections at Oakgreen-Greeley and Osgood Avenues.
• On the Wisconsin side of the river, some landowners whose property lies in the path of highway construction have received purchase offers. More offers will be mailed this month, WisDOT spokeswoman Chris Ouellette said.
Owners have 60 days to seek their own appraisal if they choose. If an agreement can’t be reached, WisDOT will begin eminent domain proceedings, Ouellette said.
WisDOT plans to acquire all needed property by this fall for the first portion of the highway project, which will extend about 1 mile from the bridge site to County Road E near Houlton School, where a diamond interchange will be built.
The second project will extend the highway about 2 miles from County Road E north to Hwy. 64.
• Endangered dotted blazing star flowers were moved from the path of the highway last fall, but WisDOT will check the area again this spring to make sure none remains. The dotted blazing stars are being nurtured in nurseries for transplanting this spring and summer.
Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037