July 29--By Heather Rule
As the weather heats up, so too does the summer road construction season.
A few major projects will continue throughout August, and numerous smaller projects will start in a couple weeks. Here is a look at the projects motorists should watch for.
Downtown Court Street
One of the most obvious road construction projects for those who have visited downtown Fergus Falls is Court Street. It's currently ripped up from Lincoln Avenue to the river as crews make improvements to the water, sewer and sanitary sewer lines before it resurfaces the street.
Work for the project started June 30 and is expected to be completed around the end of August, even though there's been a little more work than was originally planned. Motorists need to find an alternate route around the construction, but City Engineer Dan Edwards hasn't heard of any major issues.
"Right now, people are doing pretty good, I think," he said. One option is to drive south through the city parking lot to get back to Court and cross the bridge.
North Oak, West Maple
There is one project that stands out for Edwards as far as what residents and motorists need to know.
"The biggest impact short term and long term for traffic is going to be the railroad crossing closure when we redo the Maple and Oak area," Edwards said. "That'll be a permanent change."
The city is working with the railroad to permanently close that crossing at North Oak Street and West Maple Avenue. Work along with the project includes paving, curb and gutter work, and storm sewer improvements.
County Hwy. 27
The largest project of the season, about $600,000 total, is a joint one with Otter Tail County, encompassing Fir Avenue and County Hwy. 27. The area is getting a mill and overlay resurfacing, plus the city will upgrade about half a block of storm sewers on Fir, from Cleveland Avenue going west.
The city work on Fir should only take a day or two for the work and paving. The city will work with the contractor to determine what the best plan is for that area and whether it will be safe for traffic or if it would be better to close down the street during the work.
"We'll have to check with them to see which is going to be the most efficient," Edwards said.
The county is reconstructing Cleveland from Fir to past the Woodland Heights area. The county is working on grading, cutting down the existing road and regarding everything to get ready to pave it, according to Edwards.
"I think we're still a couple weeks out before they get in there to do the actual milling," he said.
The Woodland Heights residents have seen most of the effects of the project, with a detour in place that's made for a tougher time getting around there directly, according to Edwards.
They hope to have the project wrapped up sometime this fall.
The city will start on various mill and overlay projects in a couple weeks. Those projects will mostly affect local residential area traffic. Streets include Burlington Avenue South, south of Vernon Avenue East to Arlington Street South; Cavour Avenue West, from College Way to Fourth Avenue North; Fourth Avenue North, from West Cavour to Lincoln Avenue West; Second Avenue North, from Spruce Street to Linden Street West; Laurel Street West, from Second Avenue North to First Avenue North; First Avenue North, from Spruce to Cavour; Seventh Avenue West, from Buse Street North to Broadway Avenue North.