The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

July 8, 2014

Luck, sunny days keep road projects on track

"Dumb luck" helped avoid some delays

MANKATO — Despite an historically wet June, Blue Earth County road projects are on schedule, County Engineer Al Forsberg reported Tuesday.

The largest project — the $10.3 million upgrade of County Road 17 between Mankato and Eagle Lake — managed to avoid substantial rain delays because of the nature of the work scheduled for the past three weeks. Asphalt removal and work on a stretch of road that already had the gravel base laid was on the agenda, and crews were able to continue work on both of those jobs even when nearby fields were saturated, according to Forsberg.

"Somewhere between strategy and dumb luck — mostly the latter," Forsberg said of the fortunate timing of the work scheduled for June.

The road is open from Mankato to County Road 12 to serve as a detour while Highway 22 is closed for roundabout construction. But work is likely to continue into the fall on improvements on the eastern end of County Road 17 before the two-year project is completed.

While the project is proceeding nicely, Mathiowetz Construction has a full plate this summer and is unlikely to finish the road early, Forsberg said. Along with the County Road 17 project, the Sleepy Eye-based contractor is also building the roundabouts where Highway 22 intersects with Madison Avenue and Adams Street and won the contract to do the site preparation for the massive Wal-Mart distribution center that broke ground on Mankato's northeast side last month.

"I think we're still looking at a late-fall completion," he said.

The upgrades to Main Street in Madison Lake are also still on schedule, he said. With an urban project like that one, the availability of storm sewers allows heavy rains to drain quickly and crews to get back to work.

The nearly $1.3 million project is replacing the town's main drag down to the under-street utilities and providing some aesthetic upgrades to the business district. The summer-long project also includes work on Cherry Avenue.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News