Before prematurely celebrating construction season winding down in the Brainerd lakes area, next year has another big project in store for the region and there are more projects slated to start in late summer.
2019: Highway 210
For the stretch of Highway 210 between Brainerd and Ironton, it's a biggie-14 miles of roadway to be reconstructed, replacing the surface pavement, repairing pipes and improving access for a $6.8 million price tag, according to a MnDOT news release. The project is slated to begin after the week of the Fourth of July and commence through September next year.
Here's a summary of the project:
• Full-depth reclamation of the pavement from the end of the four-lane in Brainerd to Ironton, which also includes shoulders and turn lanes.
• Reconstruction of the Highway 210 and County Highway 12 (Deerwood shortcut) intersection.
• Repairing or replacing underground drainage structures, including pipes west of County Road 147, west of County Highway 59 and west of County Highway 12.
• Adding left-turn lanes at County Highway 25, County Road 147 and County Highway 59.
• Adding bypass lanes at the Mississippi Northwoods entrance and Sploezens Road.
During construction time, MnDOT advises drivers to seek alternative routes or use the signed detour along Highway 25 in Brainerd, east on Highway 18 to north on Highway 6 in Deerwood and Highway 6/210 to Crosby-Ironton.
The project, in part, represents a push to improve roadways and driver safety to have zero automotive deaths and reduce serious injuries in the state of Minnesota. According to a news release by the Toward Zero Deaths program, reconstruction of Highway 210 in Crow Wing and Cass counties is driven, in part, to reduce automotive crashes in a particularly dangerous stretch. Since January 2018, there has been a 25 percent decrease in crashes compared with 2015, 2016 and 2017.
"When resources are pooled to target an issue, the results are consistently impressive," a news release from MnDOT and the state health department reported. "Through outreach education on driving behaviors, enhanced enforcement, and engineering through signing and roadway design; this reduction will continue during this two-year project. Drive to conditions, buckle up, plan ahead, drive sober and pay attention; we will get to Zero Deaths."
2018: Highway 371
According to a project update by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, from Sept. 4 to mid-October, Highway 371 between Backus and Hackensack will be closed to through traffic, so motorists should expect delays. Local traffic should be able to maintain access for most of the project, but some areas will be impassable as crews replace underground culverts. Access to businesses and residences will be maintained, but roadway changes and gravel stretches should be expected.
The project, priced at $3.7 million, is intended to provide newer, smooth road surfaces and improved drainage. The signed northbound detour includes County Highway 87 west out of Backus, then County Highway 64 north until an eastward turn onto County Highway 19 and County Highway 40 into Hackensack.
Between late September and early October, crews will resurface Highway 371 south of Brainerd-Baxter at the Highway 371/Business 371 interchange ramps and on northbound Business Highway 371 about 1 mile south of First Street, near Barrows. The project will include upgrading overhead street lighting.
Farther south, motorists (both northbound and southbound lanes) traveling Highway 371 between Highway 10 in Little Falls and Morrison County Road 48/233rd Street, just north of Little Falls, may encounter delays while segments of the road are reduced to a single lane from sunrise to sunset, up to seven days per week. The project began Tuesday, Aug. 28, and lanes should reopen Sept. 15.
The lane closures are needed while crews resurface the road. Motorists approaching the daily work zones should slow down, be prepared to stop, and move over to give crews room to safely complete their work. When complete, the project will result in a smoother ride and preserve the pavement along 8 miles of Highway 371, MnDOT stated.