Demolition of bridge is immiment

FAIRMONT – Lair Road will be closed sooner than initially predicted in order to demolish the old channel bridge and to start connecting the road to the new bridge.

Starting Feb. 25, instead of this spring, the road and bridge will be closed to traffic, with a detour set up on Shoreacres Drive, Fairmont city engineer Troy Nemmers announced this week.

“The bridge removal will start almost immediately,” he said.

The new bridge is located just north of the old one, which state inspectors have cited for a number of structural deficiencies and poor design for safe pedestrian crossing.

Foot traffic will be able to safely pass via a walkway under the bridge once it is complete.

Lair Road will be moved to the north as well, passing through the southwest corner of Gomsrud Park and ending in a T-intersection at Shoreacres Drive, with a three-way stop.

The project also includes widening the channel connecting Hall and Budd lakes to allow two boats to pass at a time.

Nemmers hopes the channel will open in time for the May 10 fishing opener. The road and bridge, however, will likely remain closed until the project’s anticipated completion day of June 28.

Two businesses are located right in the hub of construction. Chris Car-stensen of Carstensen Cabinetry has not been concerned about the project impacting his business, but Channel Inn owner Dan Danks has predicted “there will be a little struggle” when Lair Road closes.

The cost of reconstructing the bridge, channel and road is $2.3 million, with federal grants covering $1.1 million.