The next two summers are going busy when it comes to the completion of Interstate 94 improvements that will directly affect Monticello area motorists.
Concrete pavement joint repair and concrete overlay work will continue this summer.
In 2014, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will add a westbound auxiliary lane between the interchange at County Road 18 and the interchange at Highway 25.
The project, estimated to cost $9 million, will also include construction that will separate the access loop from southbound Highway 25 to eastbound Interstate 94 to alleviate traffic weaving and merging friction.
Claudia Dumont, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) District 3 project manager, recently provided updates on the projects in a phone interview. “We did a lot of traffic modeling and decided that an auxiliary lane would be a good thing to put in for the long term,” Dumont said. “We are actually looking at a Fall 2013 bid letting for 2014 construction. Because the pavement is getting really messy and pretty close to being shot anyway, what we decided to do is widen toward the inside median and add a raised concrete barrier with glare screen. Ultimately, we want to set things up for a future six lanes,” Dumont added.
In addition to adding the westbound auxiliary lane, MnDOT is going to separate the access loop on the eastbound side. Motorists currently southbound on Highway 25 access east Interstate 94 by looping and merging onto Interstate 94.
Dumont said the loop is pretty tight, so vehicles don’t get up to proper speed.
“They are going pretty slow when they get down to merge onto I-94,” she said. “We going to do a project that’s similar to what’s been done in Rogers, where the loop and ramp have been separated with a barrier from the main line of traffic. That gives people a chance to accelerate before they move over into mainline Because the 2014 Interstate 94 auxiliary lane project will be federally funded, a mandated noise analysis was required, Dumont said. “We’ve already done that, and have determined that present and future volumes warrant the addition of a noise barrier. We’ve gone through the public process with Monticello Bluffs Apartment Complex. We met with the owner and residents earlier this month and they voted in favor of the noise wall construction in that location,” she said.
This summer’s Interstate 94 work includes a state and federally funded, $8.5 million project to repair westbound pavement joints from Interstate 94 at the Crow River to the segment of new concrete near the County Road 75 bridges outside of Monticello. Eastbound, this work will continue for about a half-mile on either side of County Road 27 in Albertville, Dumont said. The repair is similar to last summer’s pavement work that occurred from Rogers to Maple Grove, she said.
According to Dumont, the project timeline is May 28 through mid-August, with night work scheduled from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Traffic will be mainly affected during construction set-up and take-down of traffic control. The other summer Interstate 94 project involves $16.5 million worthy of unbounded concrete overlay from Clearwater to St. Augusta. This state-funded project will add 9 inches of concrete to the existing slab. According to Dumont, primary work will start April 1 and run through July 1. Removal and clean-up will continue through mid-July. Traffic will be reduced to a single lane in each direction, except during the fishing opener, Memorial Weekend and the Fourth of July holiday, she said. Real-time traffic monitoring will used during this project and include message boards along the corridor show expected delay times and alternate routes. Motorists should expect more traffic on local roads, Dumont said.
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