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Fairmont readies for street work

FAIRMONT — Street construction season will kick into high gear next week with several projects in Fairmont scheduled to start over the next month.

While there are target start dates and completion dates, road work always is dependent on weather.

Two projects expected to start Monday, if last weekend’s snowfall disappears by then, involve the completion of Winnebago Avenue east of State Street and the overlay of Fourth Street. Both were scheduled for 2019 but delayed from completion due to weather, including lots of rain and an early snowfall. About one-third of construction days last year involved rain.

“With our clay soil, a one-inch rain on one day could impact a construction project for an additional two or three days,” said Troy Nemmers, city engineer/public works director.

Other 2019 projects that were postponed include the bike trail to the Day Farm, the Cedar Creek Park trail extension and the parking lot behind the Human Services building.

“I hope we can have all those projects wrapped up by early June because we’ve got plenty of projects coming up for 2020,” Nemmers said. “Even with the snow last weekend, having contractors on site in April is definitely a benefit and hopefully will make up for some of the lost time in 2019.”

Nemmers broke down the dates of the projects and what work will be involved.

Fourth Street, scheduled to start this week, will be comprised of milling off the existing surface and replacing it with a new asphalt overlay. Concrete work will keep crews busy until the asphalt plant opens, usually in mid-May.

“There’s a fair amount of concrete work to be done on Fourth Street with the new sidewalks and pedestrian ramps,” Nemmers said.

Completion date should be mid-June.

The Winnebago Avenue project is scheduled to be finished by late June. Work to be done includes finishing the paving on the east end, installing all driveways and connections to existing streets, putting in a sidewalk on the north side and doing the final grading and seeding.

The bike trail to the Day Farm is scheduled for milling and resurfacing starting May 4, and the Cedar Creek Park trail extension should start in early May and be finished within three weeks.

Work on the parking lot behind Human Services is set to start May 4 and be completed within 30 days.

Another parking lot, the one by Ward Park, is set to start in mid-May.

“The specifications require that it be done after the fishing opener (May 9) and be reopened prior to July 4,” Nemmers said. “The lot and boat ramp will be closed during that construction, but the floating dock will be in so people can still walk out and fish on that.”

About the time all these projects are finishing up, work on Lake Avenue reconstruction will begin.

The $4.7 million project likely will start in June, Nemmers said, and have a “substantial completion date” at the end of October. Finishing touches on the project, which runs from Fourth Street to Downtown Plaza, will be done in 2021.

“Lake Avenue will be closed to through traffic during construction, but there will be minimum access to residents and businesses along the street and the courthouse,” Nemmers said. “Traffic is going to be detoured to Fourth and Prairie.”

Keeping the street open during construction was considered and rejected because of the depth of utility work required and the significant additional time added to the project. Work will be done in several phases to allow those living, working and doing business along the corridor to maintain access.

“That is why my goal is to get all these 2019 carryover projects done. Lake Avenue is going to be a challenging project. It’s a major project from the infrastructure and street side of things as well as allowing access,” Nemmers said.

“The weather just needs to cooperate. Weather impacts it all,” he said.

While the city will be a patchwork of construction projects, improvement work on 16 miles of Interstate 90 also is scheduled to start later this month. The eastbound lane from Highway 15 in Fairmont to the Blue Earth River will result in ramp closures at Exit 102 for about three weeks.

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