MARSHALL - The Minnesota Department of Transportation told the Independent on Thursday that the $2.3 million resurfacing project on U.S. Highway 59 south of Marshall has been pushed back a week for a number of reasons.
MnDOT Project Supervisor Nick Klisch gave a couple of explanations for the delay. He said the extended winter has pushed a number of projects across the state back. There are also staffing concerns - he said MnDOT is "a little short-staffed."
And there are safety issues as well, he said, since the project includes replacing the current cable guard rail at the hill near Garvin Park with a new plate beam rail.
"The rail was on schedule, but the paving crew got backed up on other projects," he said. "In order to limit the time the guard rail is down, we pushed everything back a week to make the two items coincide better. Paving projects have been hugely impacted by the late winter."
Klisch said the guard rail has to be removed and then a new one installed during the resurfacing of the highway. MnDOT plans to pave the shoulder completely and put the new rail in the pavement to avoid potential erosion issues.
Drainage work at that area is also planned.
Klisch said the contract starting date was Sept. 11 with a 30-day window, and that hasn't changed. He said the project could be wrapped up by Nov. 1 at the latest, but might be completed in late October.
The resurfacing includes a two-inch overlay where two inches of old pavement are ripped up and replaced with two inches of new pavement.
Going two inches deep - which is regarded as a mid-level fix - will address the highway's main problem: cross tracks (cracks across the road that have been filled in) that have worsened over time because of seasonal expansion and contraction of the pavement.
"This will take care of those cracks for quite some time," Klisch said. "We expect to get probably 15 years out of it."
During construction, traffic will be directed by flaggers with a pilot car, and motorists can expect delays of about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the time of day, MnDOT said.