Aug 9, 2012 at 8:41 am
ST. CLOUD, MN (KNSI) - Starting Monday morning, Division Street between Lincoln and Wilson Avenues will be closed, so work can be done on the new pedestrian bridge that's being built, as well as on the road that runs underneath it.
The project has been ongoing all summer and enters a critical phase next week, though the closure is certain to cause headaches and plenty of big traffic backups in the area. The road had remained partially open through the initial phases of the project.
"We have to close the road to complete some construction on the road itself.," MnDOT spokesman J.P. Gillach said. "After excavation began the contractor discovered a utility that had to be moved."
That uncovered utility is a storm sewer that wasn't on their original plans for the site, a hurdle, but not a terribly odd one.
"It is really not that unusual at all. Most utilities are located these days and they are mapped out one way or another, however it is not atypical at all to run into stuff beneath the road once you open it up," Gillach said.
Closing the road completely next week has MnDOT hoping to get things completed faster on the project. Without the total closure Gillach said there was no way they could finish the project by Labor Day weekend.
"When you close a road, you pick up quite a bit of time. The contractor can get in there, get his work done and get out," Gillach said. "What we have discovered is most people prefer that approach because it accelerates the construction."
While there could be backups, Gillach says those types of tie-ups generally start to alleviate a few days into the project. Some forward thinking and planning can keep you out of the possible congestion altogether.
"Motorists who regularly travel through here should definitely pull out a map find an alternate route if they can, and if they can't find an alternate route plan some extra travel time," Gillach said. "It is very likely that you're going to see some elevated congestion in this area."
For those who don't get the word, there will be a detour around the closure that will take drivers about three blocks out of their way. The closure is expected to last about three weeks.
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