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Crews begin to clear trees along Highway Business 371/South Sixth Street in Brainerd Nov. 15

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Motorists traveling on Business Highway 371, also known as South Sixth Street, between Highway 210/Washington Street and Joseph Street in Brainerd, may encounter some delays as tree clearing begins Wednesday.

The work will be done on weekdays, during daylight hours, and will require temporary single lane closures and flaggers controlling traffic as trees are cut and hauled away, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reported.

Pedestrian sidewalks may also close temporarily; watch for signs and stay out of closed areas. The tree clearing is in preparation for the Business Highway 371/South Sixth Street reconstruction project in Brainerd that will begin early spring 2018.

The tree removal is necessary over winter to ensure it does not disturb the northern long-eared bat, which is classified as an endangered species, and is in hibernation now away from trees. All work is to be completed by the end of November.

Tom's Backhoe Service of Brainerd is the contractor for the $5.7 million reconstruction project. When complete in fall 2018, MnDOT reported the project will:

• Reconstruct and redesign the road, side street connections and driveway entrances;

• Upgrade city utilities, including water and sewer systems;

• Improve pedestrian accessibility, including wider sidewalks;

• Upgrade signal systems; and

• Install new road signs and overhead LED street lights.

A public informational open house about the construction project will be scheduled in February or March. More details to be available once scheduled. To learn more about this project or sign up for project email updates, visit the project website at www.mndot.gov/d3/brd/.

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or dial 5-1-1.

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