The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 4, 2014

Key east-side road project on schedule despite rain

Highway 22 lane restrictions a week away

MANKATO — For a county and a contractor needing to get a road expansion project done in a hurry, a weeklong rain could have been very bad news.

Blue Earth County Engineer Al Forsberg, though, said the County Road 17 project on Mankato's east side is still on pace to be completed by June 1 when it will become a key detour route for traffic diverted by the shutdown of Highway 22.

Mathiowetz Construction was able to put down the gravel base for the additional two lanes being added to County Road 17 (Madison Avenue as it heads east) before the recent multiple inches of rain began to fall.

"So we were able to to get up and out of the mud," Forsberg said.

The county is paying Mathiowetz a premium to get the west end of the road done much faster than originally called for in the contract to resurface the road from Mankato to Eagle Lake, expand it to four lanes from Mankato to County Road 12, build roundabouts at four intersections and add a bike trail. Completion of the road to County Road 12 is considered crucial to keeping traffic flowing when Highway 22 is shut down from south of Madison Avenue to north of Adams Street for construction of multi-lane roundabouts at those intersections.

Curb and gutter will be going in next from Mankato to County Road 12, followed by pavement on the additional lanes and roundabout construction at Carver Road. Mathiowetz's decision to try to get the west end done in its entirety means it will be open for good to County Road 12 starting in June and won't have to be closed again once the Highway 22 roundabouts are completed late in the summer.

"With any reasonable weather, we should be able to make it," Forsberg said.

The east end of County Road 17 will continue to be under construction after June 1.

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