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Column: Traffic changes coming in April for Red Wing Bridge project

So far, the Red Wing Bridge project has progressed with minimal traffic impacts to the Mississippi River crossing or the downtown area. This is about to change.

I will try to feature the traffic changes now and we will certainly provide more information as we get closer to the actual dates. It's also worth noting that I provide a number of web links in this that direct you to our Minnesota Department of Transportation project website. There you can also sign up for regular email updates, which is another good way to stay connected and know what's happening on this project in the Red Wing community.

• First, and most importantly, the Eisenhower Bridge crossing over the Mississippi River is planned to be open to traffic at all times and no detours of the river crossing are planned. Daytime non-peak hour flagging operations are likely again this upcoming construction season but we will do our best to minimize traffic delays for motorists crossing the river.

• The first week of April, tentatively between March 30 and April 1, we are scheduled close the slip ramp / Third Street between Plum and Potter streets. We will do this by moving Highway 63 traffic to the temporary bridge we are currently building and the buttonhook ramp that we built last fall.

This traffic switch includes the activation of the new traffic signal on Highway 61 where the buttonhook connects. So, the traffic route inbound to Red Wing from Wisconsin will be the temporary bridge, buttonhook and Highway 61. For those in the downtown area destined for Wisconsin, it will be the same route in reverse. See" target="_blank"> and" target="_blank"> for more information.

• When we close Third Street at Plum, we will be turning it into a three-way stop by closing the north side for our construction this year and removing the traffic signal system. We are slated to open the newly constructed portion of Third between Plum and Potter by October this fall and when we do, the intersection at Third and Plum will become a four-way stop.

The existing signal system there is slated to be removed permanently due to the anticipated traffic changes the new buttonhook provides.

• When we close Third Street between Plum and Potter as noted previously, the crossing at Potter will be kept open at all times, except for periodic closures of the intersection for underground utility work. More details as to the actual dates of any utility work related closures of this crossing will be communicated at a later date. Pedestrians will use the south side of Potter to cross through the work area. See bridge/pdfs/pottersidewalkdetour.pdf for more information.

• The second week of April, we are scheduled to detour Highway 61 traffic for three consecutive nights to remove the remaining portion of the existing Highway 63 bridge over Highway 61. We will use the same detour we used this past December. Watch our project website for more information.

You can view the work on the Red Wing Bridge project for each construction season on our interactive map. See

Tours, events

As part of our team's efforts, you will see City Engineer Jay Owens and me 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. The next one is scheduled for noon Wednesday, April 4, in the Red Wing City Council Chambers.

We have a lot of good information that can help explain the project. You can learn more about the project or sign up for email updates by going to MnDOT's project web site or you can follow us on Facebook at