The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 12, 2013

A busy road agenda for Blue Earth County officials

County engineer has long list of needed projects

MANKATO — An interchange on Highway 14 to serve Eagle Lake, new roads on Mankato’s east side, another roundabout on Highway 22 south of town and a faster-than-expected start to construction on old Highway 14 on the city’s eastern border. ...

For a routine Public Works Department update, Al Forsberg covered a lot of ground at Tuesday’s Blue Earth County Board meeting — providing news on current construction projects and a glance at what may be coming far down the road.

Here’s a glance of some of the construction on the county public works director’s short-term and long-term “to do” list.

Rush work

The County Road 17 (old Highway 14) project was expected to focus almost exclusively on the Eagle Lake side early this summer, but state transportation officials are pressuring the county to get going on the Mankato end of the large project.

The four-mile, $10.3 million project rebuilds the highway from Mankato all the way to and through Eagle Lake. It will expand the four-lane Madison Avenue a half-mile to the east, build a new roundabout at recently extended County Road 12, add three more roundabouts at intersections to the east, build a bike trail between the cities and transform Eagle Lake’s main drag into an urban street.

The initial plan was to have contractor Mathiowetz Construction focus on first completing the disruptive Eagle Lake work. Forsberg said Mathiowetz will still be hitting that end of the project hard as soon as the ground dries out, but state officials want the west end completed this year as well.

The reasoning is that it’s going to be a challenge to keep traffic flowing on Mankato’s east side in 2014 when two new roundabouts are constructed on Highway 22 at Madison Avenue and Adams Street. One major option for diverting traffic from Highway 22 is County Road 12, a road that leads from Highway 22 north of town, past the airport, has a new interchange with Highway 14 and continues south to County Road 17 just east of town.

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