$153M Dugway Storage Tunnel Nears Completion

Highway 23 in Foley, Minn. Readies for Expansion

Thu May 24, 2012 - Midwest Edition
Dorinda Anderson


Resurfacing the two-lane section of Highway 23 from Highway 25 to the east limits of Foley will also take place in 2012, along with the installation of a new pipe for the storm water retention pond, which will be constructed northeast of the highway 23/25
Resurfacing the two-lane section of Highway 23 from Highway 25 to the east limits of Foley will also take place in 2012, along with the installation of a new pipe for the storm water retention pond, which will be constructed northeast of the highway 23/25
Resurfacing the two-lane section of Highway 23 from Highway 25 to the east limits of Foley will also take place in 2012, along with the installation of a new pipe for the storm water retention pond, which will be constructed northeast of the highway 23/25 Work on this 8-mi. (13 km) stretch of expressway began in July 2011 with construction of the new lanes by prime contractor Hoffman Construction of Black River Falls, Wis. Increasing a two-lane roadway to four lanes is expected to improve traffic flow and reduce the number of serious crashes on Highway 23 from Highway 95 east of St. Cloud, Minn., to Highway 25 in Foley, Minn.

Increasing a two-lane roadway to four lanes is expected to improve traffic flow and reduce the number of serious crashes on Highway 23 from Highway 95 east of St. Cloud, Minn., to Highway 25 in Foley, Minn.

Highway 23 is a direct route between the regional centers of Wilmar, St. Cloud and Duluth and is classified as an Interregional Corridor. The existing highway is a heavily traveled rural two-lane roadway with a history of fatal and serious injury crashes, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In 2006, about 7,300 vehicles traveled this stretch of Highway 23. This number is expected to grow to about 14,000 vehicles each day by 2030.

Work on this 8-mi. (13 km) stretch of expressway began in July 2011 with construction of the new lanes by prime contractor Hoffman Construction of Black River Falls, Wis. Rick Beckes, project supervisor with Mn/DOT’s District 3 office, explained that the main focus in 2011 was to construct the embankment for alignment of the two new lanes.

A settlement monitoring system was installed by the Elk River where it crosses Highway 23 on the west end of the project, Beckes said. The monitoring system includes settlement plates and piezometers to monitor the rate of settlement. A surcharge was built to its full width and elevation and was left to sit through the four or five months of winter to ensure there was no further settlement once traffic is routed onto the road.

Work is continuing in 2012 with the reconstruction of the existing two lanes. The bid called for concrete pavement, which was a change from the existing surface of bituminous over concrete. The existing two-lane roadway was milled and overlaid. Crews placed 127,674 dowel bars for the concrete paving.

Intersections were realigned at several roadways, including 65th Avenue, Benton County Road 25, 85th Avenue and Benton County Road 83, and Benton County Road 61, Benton County Road 62 and Benton County Road 4. Length of the reconstruction at the realignments varied based on the change in profile but averaged one-quarter of a mile on either side, Beckes said.

A new bridge is being constructed during 2012 over the Elk River to accommodate the new westbound lanes. It sits adjacent to the existing bridge that will be incorporated into the new roadway. The new bridge will require about 539 cu. yds. (412 cu m) of structural concrete.

Work in 2012 also includes adding turn lanes at the intersections of Highway 23 and Highway 25 in Foley, and reconstructing the Glen/Sheridan frontage road in the Industrial Park. Installation of city curbs, gutters, storm/sanitary sewers, water mains and other utilities in Foley is in full swing. Resurfacing the two-lane section of Highway 23 from Highway 25 to the east limits of Foley will also take place in 2012, along with the installation of a new pipe for the storm water retention pond, which will be constructed northeast of the highway 23/25 intersection.

Favorable weather and dryer conditions last fall helped keep the $26 million project on schedule and reduce the overly wet soil conditions that are prone to this area, Beckes said.

“There is an area around Foley that is notorious for being wet and with the dry weather it wasn’t as much of an issue as we had anticipated. There were a couple of areas where muck was excavated and replaced with granular material.”

A wide range of equipment is being used, including off-road trucks, end dump trucks, side dump trucks, 631 Caterpillar scrapers, and pans are being pulled behind agricultural tractors, Beckes said.

On the other hand, if the soil is too dry water will need to be added to achieve optimal densities, “but we have control over that,” Beckes said.

The anticipated completion date for the project is Nov. 1, 2012, weather permitting. CEG