Cherry Street construction

A construction worker sprays water to keep down dust as work continues on Cherry Street Friday. Substantial progress has been made in the first month of the $4.3 million Cherry Street project. The first phase has focused on the section between Front Street and just past Second Street. Photo by Pat Christman

MANKATO — Despite above-average precipitation this spring, local street construction isn't too far behind schedule — including the downtown Mankato Cherry Street reconstruction, the city's biggest project of 2019.

"We've lost three or four days so far," said Public Works Director Jeff Johnson, who is hoping the traditional June rainstorms were concentrated earlier in the season this year.

Substantial progress has been made in the first month of the $4.3 million Cherry Street project, which includes substantial earthwork because underground utilities are being replaced. Phase 1 has focused on the section between Front Street and just past Second Street, with the intersection of Cherry and Second closed to traffic.

Utility work is done and the roadbed is being put in place. Next up will be pouring of curbs and sidewalks followed by paving of the traffic lanes, followed by landscaping.

"We're hoping to have the first two blocks completely finished by the end of the month," Johnson said. "And that includes the alley as well ... ."

When those blocks and the Second/Cherry streets intersection are reopened to traffic, construction will shift to the east. The road will be rebuilt all the way to Hanover Street, near where Cherry and Glenwood Avenue merge.

On May 1, downtown business owners were told the target for getting Phase 1 completed was mid-June, but that would have required near-perfect weather. Instead, May brought just over 5 inches of rain with about a third of an inch falling in the first days of June.

The contract with general contractor Dirt Merchant Inc. calls for the entire project to be completed by Oct. 15.

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