Blue Earth busy with street work

BLUE EARTH – Major street work in Blue Earth is creating some safety issues, while projects countywide are few this summer.

Wes Brown, principal engineer for Bolton & Menk, recently sent out an update on Second Street construction project, adding a plea:

“For everyone’s safety, we encourage you to stay clear of the heavy equipment and large excavations on the project site,” he wrote. “We also strongly encourage you to inform others and especially the children in the neighborhood of the dangers involved in being in or around the construction activity. We have observed a few occasions where kids were playing near some of the equipment while it was actively working.”

Brown’s update notes that Holtmeier Construction has completed tree and pavement removal from Holland to Nicollet, and from Main to Galbraith streets.

Water mains, storm sewers and sanitary sewers are in different stages of replacement throughout the project, necessitating temporary water shut downs. Sewer and water line installation will continue next week.

“As soon as the services are complete, the street grading crew will begin work on subcutting the street, followed by installation of the four-inch underdrain piping and gravel base,” Brown said.

“If weather cooperates, it is anticipated that the street grading and placement of gravel base may be completed from Holland to Nicollet within the next two to three weeks. Pavement removal on the courthouse block will likely take place the week after next with utility work commencing that same week.

“The work between Main and Galbraith will take longer due to more extensive utilities being located in this area,” Brown wrote. “It is anticipated that the underground utility work will be completed and the street grading and gravel base work for this area will be starting in a little over two weeks. By that time, crews will likely start removing the pavement surfacing on the blocks between Galbraith and Gorman Street as well.”

The project is expected to be complete in November.

Meanwhile, Faribault County Engineer John McDonald has a short but costly list of projects.

County Road 13 will be paved with blacktop from County Road 16 to County Road 4, beginning in June and wrapping up in July.

The bridge on 90th Street southwest of Blue Earth will be replaced, beginning in mid-July, and will take six to eight weeks.

Bridges on 600th Avenue, northeast of Wells, will replaced later this summer.

Back in Blue Earth, the Main Street construction project isn’t even on the schedule, but it has been getting a lot of attention because of questions about street width and parking stalls.

It’s a joint project between the city and county. City officials and county commissioners have approved requests for a design variance to keep the angled parking. Business owners on Main Street, fearful of losing most of the parking stalls, circulated a petition that garnered more than a thousand signatures to retain angled parking.

No final design decisions have been made, McDonald noted.

“We’ve submitted this request to MnDOT and hope to hear later this summer whether this variance is granted,” he said.