Road construction season ends as Thanksgiving nears

Body: 

Concrete repair for Main Street and Levee Road is essentially complete for the season, said Ron Rosenthal, city of Red Wing engineering director.

The contractor took care of cracks that developed during the 2015 and 2016 reconstruction projects. The Minnesota Department of Transportation determined the patching plan.

"There are various reasons for the cracking," Rosenthal said.

These can include the sticking of oil-covered bars, which are supposed to slide as the roadbed expands and contracts with the Midwest's dramatic swings in temperature. The bars beneath the concrete strengthen the road.

The stressing of concrete where it meets building steps, corners, light poles, etc., also can result in cracks. Installation can be tricky, he said.

The timing of when crews make saw-joints in hardening cement also can be a factor, he explained. In hot weather, sometimes the cement can cure too quickly before crews cut into roadbed to allow for expansion and contraction.

"It happens," Rosenthal said. He expects the majority of barricades to be gone this weekend.

Goodhue County took advantage of the contractor having the equipment in town, he said, and took care of a few issues that had developed over the years on Bench Street/County 1 Boulevard.

The contractor will return in 2017 to replace sections where Levee Road and Broad Street meet.

Rosenthal said 11 of 13 panels cracked. It appears, he said, that someone may have moved the barriers and driven a heavy load across the area when the concrete looked complete but needed the weekend to fully cure.

When the work is all done, crews will have fewer and less costly repairs in the next 50 years than if blacktop had been used, Rosenthal said.

"Concrete needs far less maintenance of the years," he said, adding, "Concrete will last longer in the long run."