Crews working to set new pavement within the Monticello the Interstate 94 reconstruction project zone typically go through 30 truckloads of cement each day.
However, getting the building material became a recent problem for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) when cement barges traveling the Mississippi River could not reach their unloading terminals in St. Paul, said Kirk Allen, MnDOT District 3 project supervisor.
“Right now, we had planned paving the Interstate 94 eastbound lanes on Aug. 18, but because of this shortage, Shafer Contracting is thinking they won’t be able to get started until the week after Labor Day. I was hoping to have the Highway 25 eastbound exit ramp open for Labor Day. There’s not a chance of that happening.”
The good news, according to Allen, is that on Aug. 8, the barges started heading upstream again.
“Since Shafer has really fallen behind on it Highway 65 project in Spring Lake Park and Fridley, they are going to allocate cement to that project first, then come here when they are caught up.”
MnDOT public affairs coordinator J.P. Gillach said recently even with the cement shortage, the Interstate 94 project is safe to be completed this year.
“Some companies bring cement by rail, some by barge, some by truck,” he said. “Barges carry so much more material. Our official word is the eastbound Highway 25 entry ramp to Interstate 94 is closed until further notice.”
When complete, the Monticello Interstate 94 project will result in a smoother ride, improved traffic flow and safety along three miles of I-94.
The project will also improve drainage, signal systems and accessibility on the interstate and local roads.
For more information on the project visit mndot.gov/d3/monti/. To get advance notice of traffic changes and other important project information sent to your inbox, click “sign up for project email updates” in the left-hand column.
Contact Tim Hennagir at [email protected]