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MnDOT outlines Hwy 52 bridge plan

By Sandy Hadler, contributor

ZUMBROTA — The Minnesota Department of Transportation’s open house Thursday Dec. 17 provided an opportunity to learn more about the new bridge that will be built across Highway 52, connecting downtown to the industrial park.

The point of the meeting was not only to inform the public, but for the public to bring ideas and concerns.

Those in attendance had an opportunity to go to several information stations. They could speak to Jai Kalsy, project manager MnDOT, and Kyle Lake, assistant project manager, and a number of other MnDOT staff.

The project will not begin in 2016. Instead, construction will begin in 2017, and the bridge will be completed during that construction season.

Plans for a sidewalk on the left side of the bridge have been scrapped. But the new bridge will provide more safety for pedestrians and bikers, who will share a 12-foot wide elevated path on the right side of the bridge. There will be no safety barrier between the path and vehicles that will travel on two 11-foot lanes, which will be enhanced by a 6-foot wide shoulder.

Lake said geometric layout is close to being approved, and the design phase will begin soon. Before bid letting occurs, another meeting will be held. Lake said it will be more of a project presentation.

“We like to get public opinion now. We’ve already conducted meetings with the local businesses and city staff leading up to this,” he said.

He noted that the main concern of the business community is how the construction of the bridge will affect their businesses. “We want to lessen the business impact by keeping most of the bridge open during the duration. Access will remain open during all business hours.”

The new bridge will be built south of the existing bridge, which is not safe for walking and bike riding. The old bridge will remain open while the new bridge is under construction.

Roundabouts are planned for both ends of the bridge.