November 18, 2010 at 8:31 a.m.
The Minnesota Dept. of Transportation expects to do the huge project in four stages, and the goal is to complete all the work inside of about 15 months.
MnDOT liaison Todd Carrol told a crowd attending a breakfast meeting in Lindstrom that MnDOT's timetable calls for letting the bid in July 2011.
Sitework scheduled as part of Stage One begins as soon as possible after that bid is awarded, probably by September 2011.
The first stage of the overall project is to focus on the north half of the new bridge, across the Lindstrom lakes channel near the Lakeview Motel and Dinnerbel. The new bridge westbound lane will be constructed as the south half of the existing structure remains open.
The plans also call for widening the highway west of the County Road 14 intersection, and this project begins in stage one as well.
Expect some work to also be getting underway on the highway corridor east of Broadway St. in Lindstrom.
Construction crews won't be starting on the First Avenue leg of the one-way pairs design until spring 2012. First Ave. is being turned into a one-way westbound. It'll be two lanes and have parking on both sides, with sidewalk on both sides.
Also in early summer the north half of the new bridge should be done. Work starts at this "stage two" on a new frontage road off the 14 and 8 intersection to service homes on the south side of the highway. Also during stage two the city's infrastructure work is being accomplished, including watermain and sewer projects.
This Stage Two is approximately April to July 2012, Carrol reports.
MnDOT is planning to avoid disruption during Karl Oskar Days, Carrol explained, so work on Stage Three-- including the eastbound or south half of the new bridge won't begin until late July to September. This stage is when the main route through downtown will be rebuilt as a one-way eastbound.
Stage Four will encompass the final weeks and allow for mill and overlay and streetscape detail projects. Carrol added that of course everything is dependent on weather, etc. There could be finishing touches that aren't done until the following spring, but MnDOT is "...hoping to not go into 2013."
New lighted intersections are being installed at Olinda Trail (Dairy Queen) and at the Video Store (Akerson St.) intersections. Improvements will be made at existing lighted intersections.
Stormwater ponding areas are slated for near the Fairview cemetery, and at the bottom of the hill east of Arby's by the channel.
The new 302nd Street will also be constructed during Stage Four.
There will be two small "plazas" at each end of town where the one-way pairs fork. Design of these are still being finalized, and local history buffs are working to secure grants for at least a piece of public art/sculpture honoring a pioneering person of note for one of the plazas.
City Administrator John Olinger encourages people to get involved in a Project Mitigation Committee which is working to promote the city and businesses during this project. The Chisago Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is helping to coordinate the committee activities and anybody who is interested can contact the chamber or Administrator Olinger.
Lindstrom has a $40,000 fund (built through a grant and an economic development program) that can assist in reducing any negative impacts to the city during construction. The local businessperson serving on the committee at this time is MaryAnn Jindra, of Up North Gallery. If you need signage or want help with parking issues, need promotional materials to help explain the project to customers, or any other assistance in propping up your business during this highway project, don't hesitate to contact the chamber.
Carrol l explained that there will be weekly meetings scheduled as the work is underway, so that communication among contractors, MnDOT engineers and property owners/ citizens is possible. Carrol is the business contact at MnDOT for this project. Brad Skow is project engineer for the city. MnDOT's Adam Josephson and public relations person Mary McFarland were also introduced to the meeting attendees. There were maps available and designs with state officials standing by for detailed questions about specific parcels.
Olinger also said the new Holiday station project (including the vacant lot) should be underway within the next six months.
The city is also in negotiations for two major enterprises-- a clinic and a hotel developer are reviewing options and working with Chisago County HRA/EDA Executive Director Chris Eng.
Eng spoke briefly on the Lindstrom Small Cities Development Grant and said Shogren Apartments at Linden St. is slated to be the first site where grant-assisted projects will begin.
There's still funding for energy conservation improvements, if you have a building in Lindstrom and are considering this type of work contact city hall or ask about the small cities program aid at the chamber.
The Chisago County HRA/EDA also plans to open a small business entrepreneurial "center" at the North Branch office, in January 2011. Eng will provide more details about this program in future newspaper editions.