The contractor building a concrete median barrier along a 3-mile segment of Hwy. 12 in Wayzata and Orono has finished its work a week early and the road will reopen to motorists on Friday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.

The eastbound lanes between County Road 6 and County Road 112 opened at 5 a.m. and the westbound lanes are set to be open in time for the afternoon rush, the transportation agency said.

Drivers have been on detour since Oct. 17 when contractor, S.M. Hentges & Sons, Inc., began work on installing the median to separate eastbound from westbound along the dangerous stretch of the highway that has seen a high number of crossover crashes, including six fatal wrecks since 2011 . The work was part of safety improvements for Highway 12 as recommended in the U.S. 12 Road Safety Audit.

For the past two weeks, motorists have been on detour and routed through Long Lake along Wayzata Boulevard. The $2.3 million project was not supposed to be complete until next week. But fast work and good weather allowed the contractor to finish the work a week early.

"We would like to thank the residents of Long Lake and Orono for their support for the project and for their patience during the barrier installation,” stated Susan Youngs, Towards Zero Deaths regional coordinator. 

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