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Hastings soon will bridge the gap

Just two months from now, one lane of traffic in each direction will be running on the new Highway 61 bridge in Hastings.

Steve Kordosky, the project manager from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said this week that the bridge is right on schedule.

He expects the shift to occur in late May or right around the first of June.

Once traffic is routed onto the new bridge, work will begin immediately to demolish and remove the portion of the current bridge that is in downtown Hastings. That piece needs to be removed so that crews can finish the final two lanes of the new bridge.

Demolition of that piece of the current bridge is expected to last about a week. Work would then begin to finish the new bridge.

All four lanes of the new bridge, two in each direction, would open to traffic on or before Dec. 13, 2013. The contractor has a financial incentive to finish up to 30 days prior to that deadline.

Kordosky expects to see evening and weekend work on the bridge this summer.

"It will require long hours and weekend shifts this summer," he said. "They have a lot of work to do to get that ... approach done."