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Lake Avenue work in Fairmont begins Monday

ROAD CLOSED — Traffic control signs along Lake Avenue alert motorists to the imminent start of a major construction project in Fairmont.

FAIRMONT — The $4.8 million Lake Avenue improvement project is going to be involved. It is going to be expansive, and, after a year and a half of planning, it is going to be starting in a matter of hours.

Traffic control and detour signs will go up Sunday, rerouting motorists to Fourth Street and Prairie Avenue. Construction begins Monday. Lake Avenue from Downtown Plaza to Fourth Street will be closed to through traffic, but access to businesses along the corridor will be provided.

“The project is being constructed in four phases. Each phase is set up to allow access to the businesses as well as the courthouse and Law Enforcement Center,” said Troy Nemmers, city engineer/public works director.

The first phase will start on Downtown Plaza and run west to Main Street. The next phase will jump to the other end of the construction zone, starting on Fourth Street and heading toward the courthouse.

Traffic patterns will change at various times throughout the project. For example, South Main Street will be changed temporarily to a two-way street. Facilities with two driveways, such as the courthouse, Profinium and the Krahmer Office Complex, will be accessible through only one driveway, but which one is open will change as construction progresses.

“People have to be cautious. There’s going to be quite a bit of traffic control happening throughout the project, and it’s going to change as the phases change,” Nemmers said.

“The best thing to do is check the project website that’s set up. That’s going to be one of our main points of communication. It has all the history from the informational meetings that we’ve held, images, a phasing map and construction updates.”

The construction website can be accessed at www.fairmont.org and clicking on “2020 Lake Ave Improvements” under Popular Links on the left side of the screen. Another website with the information is www.bolton-menk.com. People can opt to sign up for email alerts whenever the information is updated.

Crow River Construction of New London is the project contractor. Crews likely will be working from about 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but will be on a different schedule than typical road crews.

“They actually work 10 days on and four days off so they will be working through some weekends,” Nemmers said. “It’s kind of odd, but I think it’s great for this type of construction. It allows them some Saturdays and Sundays to do some cleanup, which always seems to get missed during a construction project. They also can do some water disconnects when businesses are closed.”

Pending good weather this summer and fall, the project is slated for “substantial completion” by Oct. 30. Final completion date after laying the asphalt and sodding is June 25, 2021.

The final result will look substantially different than the current Lake Avenue. In addition to the absence of numerous potholes on the old road, the new route will feature three lanes, one in each direction plus a center turn lane. The Main Street intersections by Human Services and South Main will be re-configured. There will an 8-foot wide multi-use trail on the lake side of the street as well as new curb and gutter, storm sewer, sidewalks, driveways and a mini roundabout at Downtown Plaza.

Nemmers said there would be education on the roundabout so motorists know how to safely and confidently navigate the area.

“There’s a lot of work that’s got to get done in the next three months,” he said.

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