TYLER - Planned construction on a stretch of U.S. Highway 14 near Florence will help take care of flooding problems, but it will also mean a summer detour, Minnesota Department of Transportation engineers said Wednesday.
MnDOT project engineers were present at an open house in Tyler on Wednesday to talk about upcoming construction on Highway 14 and to answer questions for the public. Several Lincoln County residents attended the open house, including both Tyler area residents and Lincoln County commissioners.
Project engineer Nick Klisch said construction will begin in May to raise the grade on a stretch of Highway 14, west of the intersection with Minnesota Highway 23. The road has had some recurring problems with flooding in that spot.
"It's just a low-lying area," Klisch said. "It's kind of an old, settled lakebed here."
Klisch said MnDOT has received grant funding for a flood mitigation project affecting a one-half mile stretch of the road.
"What we'll do is take the surface off the road," Klisch said, and install a drainage system to draw water down and away from the road. The roadway will also be re-graded before it is paved.
A key part of the grading work will be adding large amounts of dirt to the roadway and waiting for it to settle, Klisch said.
"We hope it will settle about five feet," he said, although when the roadway is rebuilt, it will still be several feet higher than it is now.
Klisch cautioned that it will take a long time for the new roadbed to properly settle. It will require Highway 14 to be closed, even if it doesn't look like much work is going on at the site after May, he said. A detour will be in place from May to November. Traffic heading west into Tyler will detour on Lyon County road 91, Highway 23, Lyon County Road 10/Lincoln County Road 11.
At the same time, Klisch said, MnDOT will also be resurfacing Highway 14 between Tracy and Florence. The project won't involve detours, except for periods of time when bridges in Balaton and Florence will be resurfaced, he said. The Highway 14 bridge in Balaton will be closed for two weeks for resurfacing, and the Highway 14 overpass near Florence will be closed for about 30 days in mid- to late summer. The resurfacing project will also put in handicapped-accessible sidewalks along Highway 14 in Tracy.
Other area highway projects planned for this summer include three resurfacing projects. A project on Minnesota Highway 67 north of Echo in Yellow Medicine County, and a project on U.S. Highway 212 from Dawson to U.S. Highway 59 are planned to start construction in May. A resurfacing project on Highway 59 south of Highway 212 is planned to start in the fall.