By Mark Fischenich
---- — MANKATO — Mankato's first roundabout, which had a troubled construction last year, will be shut down twice in coming days for repairs, Blue Earth County announced Thursday.
The final leg of the roundabout at Victory Drive and Stadium Road opened Nov. 6, 2012, — two and half months later than expected. The repeated delays in completing the project frustrated Blue Earth County officials, who threatened to levy fines against Southern Minnesota Construction.
On Saturday, the roundabout will be shut down for at least part of the day to do repairs to the curb and gutters. The roundabout should reopen later on Saturday but will need to be closed on a future day for fixes to the concrete on the roadway itself. SMC will cover the costs of the repairs, said county Public Works Director Al Forsberg.
"This is what I would call 'warranty repair work,'" Forsberg said.
The potential for fines against the company for failing to meet project deadlines still exists.
"We haven't resolved that yet," he said.
The repairs were timed for the period between the Minnesota Vikings training camp at nearby Minnesota State University and the start of MSU classes on Aug. 26. The second day of repairs was originally planned for Thursday Aug. 22, but the county learned that's move-in day for dorm residents and the date for those final fixes is being rescheduled.
"It is a main road and a busy road, so we're trying to time it so it has the least disruption," Forsberg said.
Additional roundabouts have opened near Highway 14 since the Victory Drive roundabout was completed, and at least eight more are either under construction or to be constructed in 2014 in both Mankato and North Mankato. Forsberg said residents should not expect similar delays or construction flaws in other roundabouts.
"I think it was an unusual circumstance," he said of the difficulties SMC had in completing the Victory/Stadium roundabout. "It's not endemic with roundabouts in general."