Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Five months of road work begins

Moose Lake motorists seeing orange as sign of major work ahead

 

Colette Stadin

Orange is scattered along the main roadway of Moose Lake - a sure sign of the major road construction project planned for Moose Lake. Pictured, signs warn motorists Arrowhead Lane will be closed beginning May 31.

About 25 Moose Lake community residents, city officials and Carlton County officials met with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) officials at a community meeting on Wednesday, May 10, to discuss the major road construction project through the community.

"We're starting to see orange out there and that's a good sign," said Roberta Dwyer, the project manager from MnDOT. "This is the culmination of a lot of work to plan this project."

The main streets through the community will be repaved this summer, from freeway to freeway and on Folz Boulevard to the city limits.

Highways 27 and 73 come into the city on Folz Boulevard, and then split at the intersection by First National Bank. Highway 73 turns south to the south I-35 interchange, and Highway 27 turns north to the north Interstate 35 interchange.

Minnesota Highway 289 will also be repaved. That short highway goes from Highway 73 to the prison. Dwyer said an agreement has been reached with the Department of Corrections to repave the road into the prison grounds.

Northland Constructors was the successful bidder, at $7.1 million. The project started May 15 and has to be completed by October 13, said Dwyer.

"That's five months of work," she added. "The crews will be working most Saturdays and they will be putting in long days. Schedules and weather will impact the project. We'll keep you updated as things change."

Jim Sorenson, project supervisor, said he will provide weekly updates to the Moose Lake Star-Gazette.

Dwyer reported the first portion of the project starts at the Moose Horn River bridge and goes south to the traffic signals at the intersection of County Road 61; 600 feet of rough pavement on County Road 61 will be repaved. Flaggers will control the traffic.

Construction will begin on a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 73 and County Road 10.

"Traffic will be maintained, but moved from side to side," she said. "The roundabout has to be done by August 18 before school starts in the new school."

"There is a lot to be done in a relatively short amount of time," said Craig Ploetz of Northland Constructors. "There will be flaggers, short closures and stoppage of traffic."

The intersection by the bank will be closed completely for two weeks.

"That intersection will be closed right after Memorial Day," said Dwyer. "Traffic will be detoured on Industrial Road. There is a lot of work at that intersection, including utilities. The bank drive-up will still be open.

"That intersection will be reopened on June 16, but stop signs will replace the signal lights temporarily. New signal lights will be installed later in the summer."

Later in June, work will begin on Folz Boulevard from Industrial Road to Kenwood Avenue.

"There will be new sidewalks and a new storm sewer, including replacing the storm sewer along Industrial Road to Third Street, as well as repaving the street," said Dwyer.

One business owner said the sidewalk was the only access to her business.

"We'll work with you," said Sorenson. "That access will be closed for two days."

Work on Arrowhead Lane from the south Moose Horn River bridge to Eighth Street will begin in August, said Dwyer. There will be two-way traffic as each half of the street is under construction. When one side is done, the traffic will be switched to the other side.

"There is old concrete under the existing pavement," she added. Curbs and sidewalks will be installed in August and September.

The last portion of the project is Highway 27 out to the north I-35 interchange.

"That will be repaved in September and October," said Dwyer. "You may have to drive on gravel for a little while."

Access was an issue.

"We will need to work on the driveways," said Dwyer. "There will be all new driveways. You will be notified so you can make arrangements for deliveries. One street may be closed. You'll have to go on another street. Usually we do driveways block by block. There will be no parking on the streets that we are working on."

ATV traffic will not be affected.

"All trails will be open," said Dwyer. "People can still come through the community."

Noise is a concern.

"We won't have any blasting during this project," said Dwyer. "But the equipment is loud. We receive the most complaints about the beep, beep, beep that people hear. That is necessary for safety."

Moose Lake will have the first roundabout in Carlton County.

"Hibbing and Chisholm are getting roundabouts this year, and Cloquet will get one next year," said Dwyer. "Roundabouts are a great alternative to stop signs and signal lights. They are safer. All of the traffic keeps moving through them. People slow down; you don't have to stop unless you are yielding to another vehicle or someone in the crosswalk. Trucks take more room. People are asked to give them room. Bicycles ride with the traffic."

Dwyer said the center of the roundabout will be landscaped.

"Tim (Peterson, the city administrator) is going to try and find a moose for the center of the roundabout," she added. "That will be a nice symbol for your community."

In further questions from those in attendance, Dwyer said no trees will be affected by the project. One city garden will have to be moved. The trash cans will have to be removed, but the shelters will remain in place.

There will be weekly meetings open to the public in the conference room at the civic and community center on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. throughout the project. The first meeting is May 23.

"We ask for your patience," said Dwyer. "You'll end up with a new road, new sidewalks and new utilities. Use alternate routes as much as possible if you can go around the construction area. There will be a lot going on in this area. Hang up your phone when you see orange cones. Please be alert and drive slowly through this area."

"Why are we sitting here?" asked one community member. "Let's get her done."

Find more information about the Moose Lake project at dot.state.mn.us.

 

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