by Mike Knaak
The first of two major road construction projects planned for this summer has started in Sartell.
On May 14, First Street NE./Benton CR 29 was reduced to one lane from Benton Drive to just west of Hwy. 15 and closed to westbound traffic. The one-lane closure is expected to last most of the summer. Access to homes and local businesses will be open during the road closure.
On the west side of the city, the Pinecone Road project will begin June 4, according to Jon Halter, city engineer.
Motorists will see some miscellaneous construction before June 4 when Phase 1, which runs through Labor Day, begins. Phase 2 of the project will take place in the fall.
The CR 29 project includes replacement and upgrade of utilities and reconstruction of the road.
Improvements are needed to replace failing pavement and install a left-turn lane to reduce congestion.
The Pinecone Road project is designed to accommodate traffic growth and increase safety.
More than 5,000 vehicles travel on Pinecone Road N. every day. The road will be widened and a walking path will be added.
Two new roundabouts will create easier access for buses and drivers heading to the new high school opening in fall 2019. There will be new lighting and school flashers installed surrounding pedestrian crossings.
During Phase 1, Pinecone Road from 15th Street to 27th Street and from 35th to 40th Street will be closed. Riverside Avenue and 12th Street N. will be the best route for drivers on the south end of the detour.
After that work is done, 27th Street to 35th Street will close.
At its May 14 meeting, the City Council approved a low bid of $5.8 million from J.R. Ferche of Rice for the project.
A special website has been created for updates on the Pinecone Road project at http://detour.sartellmn.com/. The site features a map showing the project with detour routes as well as a form to submit questions.