Monday construction crews moved in and began milling up the blacktop and breaking up the concrete in the main downtown area to officially start the reconstruction of Main Street. Phase 1 of the detour is in effect.
Monday construction crews moved in and began milling up the blacktop and breaking up the concrete in the main downtown area to officially start the reconstruction of Main Street. Phase 1 of the detour is in effect.
MnDOT, Mathy Construction and the City of Spring Grove were on hand at Spring Grove Communications to talk with residents about plans for this summer's Highway 44/Main Street rebuild.

There are four phases of construction scheduled, the second of which is further divided into stages "A" and "B." All five require somewhat different local traffic detours.

Phase one and two are basically about Main Street west of Division Avenue. Phase three includes Division and the east end of Main. Phase four focuses mostly on the intersection of Division and Main. Work will not necessarily be confined to just one phase at a time.

MnDOT Project Manager Jeffrey Bunch said phase one will begin on June 3. The various detours allow for "different things to take place, while trying to maintain as much access as possible for the longest period of time," he explained.

"What we want is for the project to have as little impact through town as possible."

Originally slated to begin on May 20, construction was held up briefly while contracts were finalized, Bunch said.

He noted that regardless of that, "I don't think there's any issue with getting everything done by the end of the year."

Mathy Construction Division Manager Andy Marinelli said that the final date on the contracts is Oct. 31. "We think we can still accomplish our goal by then," he said.

"We're just going to take it one piece at a time and one detour at a time. These small detours are mainly for local traffic to get people through and around town.

"The main detour routes heavy truck traffic up to highway 16 and around. Hopefully, that will take care of a lot of traffic problems around town.

"As long as we can safely allow people to use the highway we will, to allow local access to the businesses."

With a little help from the weather, flagged traffic could be moving along Main Street from the west end of town nearly to Division Avenue by the middle of August.

That doesn't mean the last layer of asphalt will be in place at that time, however.

"We're going to try to tie the final layer of paving in with the rest of the Highway (44)," Marinelli said.

"By September, we may be able to open the road and get rid of the detours (west of Division), but we're still going to be working on a lot of items. There will still be a lot of landscaping, work on final lifts, then the final layer of asphalt."

Both Bunch and Marinelli cautioned residents not to expect everything to be completed by an exact date. Besides the obvious impact that heavy rains can have on construction schedules, there's a still bigger issue... the existing road or more specifically, what lies below the surface.

Marinelli pointed out, "Until we dig into the ground and find out where the rock is and what kind of soils we have, it's really hard to judge (an exact schedule) for a project of this magnitude.

"With the age of the utilities, rock elevations... a lot can change in a hurry."

Marinelli said that digging up the street is something akin to opening a "mystery box."

Bunch agreed, "No matter how good your records are for your road, you'll never know exactly what will be there until you get there. You could get down and find some pipe where you're not sure what it is. You have to stop production until you find out.

"It could be something that's been abandoned for 20 years, but you need to know. You're not going to cut a gas line. You're not going to cut some communication line. It could wind up being nothing, but it could still hold up the project."