Highway 19 reconstruction expected to begin in JuneWhen Robert and Frances Manthey heard about the upcoming reconstruction of Highway 19, they admit they were a little concerned about how they’d get to and from their home during the project.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
When Robert and Frances Manthey heard about the upcoming reconstruction of Highway 19, they admit they were a little concerned about how they’d get to and from their home during the project.
“We live on 19,” Robert said. “There’s no back road to get to us.”
They live almost two miles outside of Cannon Falls and, since Frances works in town, it would be a bit problematic if she became housebound.
“They’ve been joking at work that I was going to have to park at the (Cannon Falls) high school and walk the mile-and-a-half home. So I was voting on a shuttle bus or something,” she said with a laugh.
About three dozen other residents also had questions regarding how they’d travel during the project. Chris Illa has lived about a half mile west of Vasa on Highway 19 for 29 years. She doesn’t have a job that requires her to leave the house, but she attends church in Cannon Falls and frequently volunteers her time in Red Wing.
“I don’t have to go anyplace, but it’s quite boring sitting at home,” Illa said.
At an open house Monday night in Vasa, representatives with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Rochester Sand and Gravel, a division of Mathy Construction, were on hand to assure concerned civilians that the reclaiming project wouldn’t cause any of them to become shut-ins.
“The main purpose of this meeting was to make sure we can tell you how you can get in and out of your houses while the project’s going on,” MnDOT project engineer Paul Schauer said.
Work is expected to begin June 6 and last until about mid-August, said Rochester Sand and Gravel project manager Brian Schumacher. The timeline is weather permitting, of course.
“We’re hoping for ideal rain. You know, rain Saturday night to Sunday morning,” Schumacher joked.
Construction will start on the east end of 19, next to Highway 61 in Red Wing. The stretch of road from 61 to County Road 6 is expected to be the most time-consuming because that’s where most of the culverts are, Schumacher said.
Rather than simply resurfacing the road, the project will reconstruct it. Existing pavement will be ground up, re-compacted with additional oil and eventually paved. A base of new pipes, sand and rock also will be laid down during the project’s first stages.
Although it will take about three weeks for the reclaimer to get all the way from Highway 61 to Cannon Falls, that whole stretch of Highway 19 will close for the entirety of the project. It won’t be closed and reopened in sections because the finished portions will still need time to set.
“We touch up the road and re-grade it and it’s got to set five to 15 days before you can drive on it,” Rochester Sand and Gravel superintendent Dewey Hebl said.
Although residents’ travels will become somewhat inconvenient for a couple months during reconstruction, those in the area said it’s well worth the trouble.
“The road is in terrible shape,” Frances Manthey said.
“It needs it badly,” her husband added.