The sign “road closed ahead” is getting very familiar to Mabel residents. This one is for the sewer work on East Prairie Avenue. DAVID STOEGER/NEWS-RECORD
The sign “road closed ahead” is getting very familiar to Mabel residents. This one is for the sewer work on East Prairie Avenue. DAVID STOEGER/NEWS-RECORD

It does not take very long to notice that Mabel has a lot of roads that have been closed or under serious repair in the past couple months, from the east end to the west end of the city. The construction is all a part of the city’s project to upgrade its sewer system – in which old pipes in some locations in the city have been discovered to be 70 to 80 years old.

Mabel Public Works director Bob Mireau said the project is progressing well overall with a few changes. “For the most part everything is moving along at a good pace,” he said. “They did run into a little bit of trouble on Prairie Avenue…the soil was not suitable to be put back into the ground…so that will add a little bit of cost. But for the most part things are moving along well.”

Another change order was regarding tracer wire for the new pipes. The tracer wire will allow maintenance workers to trace the location of the sewer pipes in years to come.

“We look at the last stuff that has been in 70 to 80 years…that’s really important that we be able to locate those items and that it is done properly,” Mireau added.

The project started this July and is expected to be substantially completed by August of 2015. Mireau said, right now, crews are working to “clean up” so the roads will be passable for Steam Engine Days this weekend – though some of the roads will have a few “bumps.”

 “I think people are pretty patient (with the project),” Mireau stated. “I know some of the roads are a mess. But in due time, we’ll make it through. It’s all for the good of the order.”

Still to come this fall will be work on the sewer on Main Street from the Mabel Telephone Company to the intersection of Highway 44. The street will need to be torn up for part of the project. A new water tower is to be erected on the city’s east side within the next month and roads are to be repaved with at least one lift of blacktop before winter.

 “The construction season will go through all fall and into the winter season until they can’t anymore,” Mireau said.

Work this winter will include lining manholes and lining pipes.

 “For the most part, people understand that it is a necessary project that needs to get done. The main thing is that everything is accessible and safety wise that people are able to get around,” he concluded.

The multi-million dollar project is being administrated by Davy Engineering of La Crosse, Wis., and funding is being largely provided through a grant from the Minnesota Rural Water Association.