County Road 18 has been torn up on the east side of town since the beginning of June, as construction crews work to create roundabouts at the intersections with MacIver Ave. and Naber Ave. NE, a wider roadway, and a new trail.
Wright County’s highway engineer, Virgil Hawkins, said contractors found unsuitable soils in areas they hadn’t expected, which has taken additional time and work for them to remove.
Wright County’s assistant engineer, Chad Hausmann, said they had originally planned to complete the project just before the start of the school year, which is September 4, but they are now working out a revised schedule with the contractor this week. Though he said he doesn’t like putting an exact date on projects like this, Hausmann said their goal is to have the majority of the work done and be open to traffic by mid-September.
“[The contractor] has requested more time, which is fair given that there is more work to do,” Hausmann said.
Hausmann said they are working with St. Michael-Albertville superintendent, Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault, to create a plan B in case the project will not be completed by the beginning of the school year. This stretch of road serves as the main access route to STMA’s Big Woods Elementary and Middle School East.
He said he expects all work east of the Berningwood neighborhood to be completed in time for the school year, but the portion from MacIver Ave. to Mayelin or McAllister Ave. may not be finished. In that instance, travelers would need to continue using alternate routes. Hausmann said they may opt to open the road up to vehicles during peak traveling periods to and from school, but noted that they can get the job done much faster by keeping it closed.
In addition to the roundabouts and expanded roadway, crews will also be constructing a new trail on the south side of the road. Hausmann said they still expect to complete the trail this fall. The project will wrap up in 2019 with odds and ends such as re-seeding grass that didn’t grow back after construction, repairing sidewalk cracks and general clean up.
Hausmann said that they do not have final figures for the additional expenses incurred by the poor soil removal, but said he expects most of the additional costs to fall on the county.