Weather Forecast


Road construction season will be less upsetting in 2014

The Brainerd area’s “other season” — the one that’s not winter and involves heavy equipment and orange traffic cones — promises to be less troublesome for motorists in 2014.

“It’s not as disruptive of a year,” Tony Hughes, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) District 3 resident construction engineer, said Thursday, comparing it to the 2013 season that saw road reconstruction slow down traffic at Nisswa for most of the summer as well as concrete repairs between Baxter and Pillager on Highway 210.

The final phase of a multi-year project on Highway 371 at Nisswa will be completed in May and June with MNnDOT doing landscaping, replanting and final striping. The total cost of the project is $62,000 with the 2014 cost set at $50,000. There will be lane and shoulder closures. The project will provide improved erosion control and aesthetics.

Nisswa City Planner Loren Wickham said Thursday that once MnDOT completes its work the city will finish its landscaping work near the pedestrian access and tunnel that leads from downtown to Nisswa Lake.

“It (the city project) would be a very quick project,” he said. “A matter of a couple days.”

Wickham said Nisswa officials need MnDOT to install its drip irrigation system before Nisswa completes its end of the project. He said he expected the tunnel to be ready for use before July.

Other major projects in the Brainerd area include:

• Highway 371 — Resurfacing of nine miles of highway between Pine River and Backus at a total cost of $1.9 million from May to July of 2014. Traffic will be reduced to one lane with flaggers and a pilot car. The purpose is to provide a smoother road surface and extended road life.

• Highway 64 — Resurfacing 19 miles of the roadway from Highway 210 to Cass County Road 23 at a total cost of $1.6 million from August to September. Highway 64 will be reduced to a single lane with flaggers and pilot cars. The project will provide a smoother surface and extend the road’s life.

• Highway 10 — Resurfacing the highway from Motley to Cushing at a cost of $3.6 million in June and July. The route will see daytime lane closures. The listed benefit is a smoother road surface.

Highway 84 — The Boy River bridge, south of Longville, will be replaced in August and September at a cost of $272,000. There will be alternating one-way passenger vehicle traffic across the bridge and a truck traffic detour. Hughes said there is the possibility this project could be pushed back to the 2015 road construction season depending upon when the city of Longville completes a utility relocation.

• Highways 6, 25, 210 — Culverts will be replaced on Highway 6, three miles north of Outing; Highway 6, seven miles south of Highway 2; Highway 25, eight miles south of Highway 18; and Highway 210, west of Deerwood. Total cost $600,000. Work will be done in August through October. Roads will be closed with short-term detours. The culvert replacements will improve drainage and restore infrastructure.

Highway 169 — At Garrison, MnDOT will restore the rest area by repaving roads and parking spaces, removing concrete covering historic stone pavers, repair drainage system, install accessible pedestrian ramps, repave/repair walkways and benches, relocate information booth, repair stone curb. Total cost is $1.2 million with the 2014 cost of $75,000. The project will be done in May with intermittent lane and parking closures.

Two projects on Interstate 94 and one in St. Cloud might also affect travel plans of Brainerd area motorists traveling to and from the Twin Cities:

• Highway 10 and 23 interchange — Resurfacing of lanes and ramps at the interchange, improvements to pedestrian accessibility at a total cost of $1.6 million in August and September. It will involve lane closures and flaggers. The purpose of the project is to provide a smoother surface and improved pedestrian accessibility.

• Interstate 94 at Monticello — Reconstruction of I-94 from Highway 25 to County Road 18; reconstruction and reconfiguration of ramps at Highway 25/eastbound I-94; adding an auxiliary lane to westbound I-94 from County Road 18 to Highway 25. Total cost $17.2 million. Project slated for April through November. The impact will include I-94 lane shifts and closures, 30-day detour Monticello traffic accesses westbound I-94 via County Road 75 to Hasty.

• Interstate 94 (Rogers to St. Michael) — Addition of an auxiliary lane to eastbound I-94, addition of a lane to westbound I-94, extension of a ramp from westbound I-94 to Highway 101, construction of a noise wall and a widening of the Crow River bridges. Total cost $32-37 million. Project slated for July to October. Lane and ramp closures should be expected.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or Follow on Twitter at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860