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MNDOT Improves Highway 8, Increases Volume, Safety

Mon October 15, 2012 - Midwest Edition
Jen Rupp

With traffic levels on Highway 8 in Lindstrom, Minn. beyond capacity, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) comprised a $12 million project to increase volume and improve safety. The project, which began in April of this year, runs from Shoquist Lane to the east city limits along Highway 8.

The $12 million reconstruction project is funded by federal, state, county and city funds.

The new design calls for eastbound and westbound Highway 8 traffic to be separated into a “one-way pair” in the downtown area between Linden and Elm Streets. Highway 8 (Lake Boulevard) will carry eastbound traffic, and 1st Avenue will carry westbound traffic.

Redstone Construction of Mora is building a new bridge over a channel connecting North Lindstrom and South Lindstrom Lakes. The bridge will provide an important access for boaters who frequent these two lakes, which are part of the Chain of Lakes System.

Safety improvements include the construction of frontage roads planned in some areas, which will remove direct driveway access to Highway 8, new traffic signals, and trails and sidewalks on both sides of Highway 8 between County Rd. 14 and Akerson Street.

Landwehr Construction, Inc. is the prime contractor on the job. Landwehr, based in St. Cloud, is performing all roadway work, including grading, roadway construction, water main replacements and drainage.

Subcontractor Hardrives, Inc., headquartered in Rogers, will follow up with paving. Collins Electric of St. Paul is installing traffic signals, Geyer Signal of St. Cloud is in charge of traffic control, and H&R Construction of Dalton is supplying the signage.

Construction on this dense business district began on April 16, 2012 and is slated for completion on June 21, 2013. The high volume of traffic on this stretch has resulted in higher crash rates than on other areas of Highway 8. The project will address capacity, mobility and safety issues in the project area.

“The work in this area directly impacts the businesses along Highway 8, so in response, MNDOT has assigned business liaisons to mitigate any issues that may arise,” said Tom Krier, project manager for MNDOT.

While work is now moving swiftly along, crews faced roadblocks with the relocation of utilities. This common construction challenge forced the contractor to stop operations and move to another task while waiting to coordinate with the utility companies.

Petroleum-tainted soil on the jobsite also requires special provisions. Landwehr is following the regulations set forth by the Pollution Control Agency (PCA) while handling and disposing of the soil, while an MNDOT consultant oversees the operation. Landwehr is excavating a total of 119,830 cu. yds. (91,670 cu m) of earthwork and, with regard to the soil issues, will determine how much of the earthwork will be reused on the project.

Landwehr purchased a Cat 143H grader with GPS for the project, and also is using their Komatsu 300 backhoe, (2) Komatsu 400 backhoes, a Bobcat T190 skid steer, a Cat 354 backhoe and a John Deere 850J dozer with GPS on the project.

Hardrives is laying 27,224 tons (24,692 t) of asphalt on the new roadways. Crews have been working 12-hour days, Monday through Friday. Traffic is being maintained along Highway 8, as the crews work on one side of the project, then shift lanes to complete the opposite side.

By June 2013, Highway 8 in Lindstrom will be fully opened to traffic. The new layout includes wider sidewalks and pedestrian facilities, street lamps and landscaping, as well as increased capacity for growing traffic levels.

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