Recently, I had the great honor to attend the annual American Segmental Bridge Institute conference in New York City and accept ASBI awards on behalf of Minnesota Department of Transportation for both the Dresbach and Winona bridge projects.
This was one of the highlights of my 30-year career in civil engineering. I am extremely fortunate to have been a small part of these signature projects and thankful to work with such a great team of construction inspectors who truly are passionate about their profession and dedicated to the work they do. These awards are clear examples of their extraordinary efforts.
I've also been reflecting on the work we've accomplished on the Red Wing Bridge project this summer and I am thankful for many things. Some of them include:
• Red Wing City Engineer Jay Owens and his staff at Public Works. Jay and his entire team have been great to work with and they represent the Red Wing community extremely well.
• Red Wing Area Chamber Executive Director Patty Brown and her staff. Patty and her team have been actively engaged in the project and generated a great deal of interest with the recent project visits.
• Kit Murray at the Red Wing Republican Eagle for her continued work to inform readers about the Red Wing Bridge project this year.
• Bob and Margi Moyer and all the campers this summer at the Island Campground. They have been very understanding and accommodating with the bridge construction work we've done.
• Brad Smith at the Harbor Bar. He has allowed us to "launch" numerous project site visits from his parking lot this summer.
• Bill Simmons and the Archer Daniels Midland team. Bill and his ADM team have been very accommodating and understanding with all the work we are doing around their campus.
• The entire Red Wing Shoe Co. team has been responsive to all our needs, including the closing of their back parking lot for an extended period of time. We are truly thankful for their efforts.
• David Koepp and his team as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation who work closely with on to ensure the work on the Wisconsin side of the project meets their expectations.
• The Red Wing community has been very engaged in the Red Wing Bridge project and great to work with.
• Environmental permitting agencies who have been very responsive to our needs, like the USFWS in granting a permit for us to work around the bald eagles.
• Law enforcement — from the Red Wing police to Goodhue County and Pierce County sheriff's offices to the State Patrol — has been helpful in ensuring motorists are following the traffic setups and assisting motorists to maintain safety in and around our construction zones.
• The Zenith Tech team has shown us they are committed to building the Red Wing Bridge project on schedule and on budget.
• On a personal note, MnDOT Field Specialist Eric Breitsprecher has done a fantastic job of leading our entire field staff in building a high quality project.
If you noticed, this list includes so many people. In my career, the most satisfying projects have been those where we have many people working for one goal, adding their perspectives, their expertise and their hard work to the collective effort.
This project is far from done, but I think it's important to periodically pause and recognize the good work that happens daily. So far, we have been building a high quality project with a very good safety record, while being good stewards of the environment. We do traditionally focus on identifying and eliminating errors and challenges, but so much goes right on a regular basis and it's important that's not forgotten.
We continue to work toward the goal of having the new bridge open to traffic by fall of 2019 before we take down the existing bridge in this $63.4 million construction project.
You have probably seen me and Red Wing City Engineer Jay Owens together at various community events or on a bridge tour. We've been presenting information about the project to civic groups and we'd be happy to visit with your group or provide your organization or business with the necessary information about the project so you can keep your employees informed. We've found that if you know more about the project, you can help others understand it and minimize any possible disruptions it might cause. We do regular updates on the Community Access Channel 6, so you can catch us there as we provide updates and field questions. We can also talk with you about the impacts of the slip ramp closure next spring, if you desire.
You can learn more about the project or sign up for email updates by going to MnDOT's project website www.dot.state.mn.us/d6/projects/redwing-bridge/ or you can follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RedWingBridgeProject/.