Public works crews take advantage of early springThis year’s record-breaking spring continues as abnormally high temps from earlier months carried over into May. The National Weather Service reports that the month’s average temp in Minneapolis was 4.6 degrees higher than normal.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
May by the numbers
High: 93 degrees May 18
Low: 42 May 21
Average daily high: 71.6 degrees
Average daily low: 52.5 degrees
Precipitation: 5.77 inches
Sources: U.S. Lock & Dam No. 3, Red Wing waste treatment plant
This year’s record-breaking spring continues as abnormally high temps from earlier months carried over into May. The National Weather Service reports that the month’s average temp in Minneapolis was 4.6 degrees higher than normal.
All the warm weather has meant everyone, including public works crews and construction workers, are getting a head start on outdoor projects.
“It’s actually pushed everything up a couple of weeks ahead of schedule,” city of Red Wing deputy public works director Lynn Nardinger said.
This year, city crews started blacktop patching sooner than expected. Nardinger said the warm weather allowed the plants used in the patching mix to open earlier. In addition, crews will start on the city’s alley projects as soon as next week. That’s as many as two weeks ahead of schedule.
“That’s a good thing,” Nardinger said. “It’ll take some of the pressure off later in the summer.”
An early spring also means a longer growing season for grass and trees. Nardinger said city public works has been getting requests for tree trimming, grass cutting and gravel road dust control well before expected.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is seeing a similar pattern. State crews have already been out patching potholes, sealing cracks, repairing guardrails, barriers and fences and fixing culverts.
“The department got caught up on maintenance work deferred due to last summer’s state government shutdown and jump-started several additional projects,” MNDot spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said in a press release.
However, the spring’s effects have been felt slightly less for Goodhue County Public Works.
“It’s been nice, but it hasn’t been a huge impact on anything,” Director Greg Isakson said.
The county bids out its road projects in January and February, and set swork specifications based on a typical summer. That means road work won’t begin until its normal early June start date.
However, county crews did get a head start on minor maintenance projects, such as trimming trees and washing last winter’s salt off of bridges.
Though the warm temperatures came early this year, the flooding seems to have shown up late. Heavy rains throughout the state in the later part of May caused the Mississippi River to approach flood levels this week.
The National Weather Service is predicting the river to crest in Red Wing next week at around 12.5 feet, just below minor flood stage at 14 feet.
Levee Road was closed last week, Nardinger said, and crews will evaluate whether to close Colvill Park on Sunday morning.
In the county, Isakson said repairs will need to be done in a few washout areas and grass seed that was washed away will need to be replanted.
“It’s interesting that the Mississippi was at its typical August stage in April and at its April stage now,” Isakson said. “It’s been a strange year.”