Intersection should be open next week

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The Minnesota Department of Transportation's (MnDOT) reconstruction of Highway 13/19 on the east side of New Prague continues this week with several tasks.

Crews from Chard Tiling and Excavating will start on a concrete median east of Scott County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 37. There will also be installation of sidewalk grading and tile at the roundabout that will be where Alton Avenue and the highway meet.

MnDOT plans to have the highway open from Sunrise Avenue to CSAH 37/10th Avenue, as well as the intersection, open by Friday, July 20. The road east of the intersection will remain closed. While signals are planned for the intersection, the equipment won't be installed until October. Until then a four-way stop will be used.

Other work next week includes completing bituminous paving and sidewalk work. Grading operations will continue east of Chalupsky Avenue. Striping of the road and the placement of signs are scheduled to be done sometime between July 18 and 20.

Susan Museus, construction project manager with MnDOT's District 7 Office in Mankato, addressed some of the concerns that have come up in the weeks since the project started. One concern is that people had been moving the road closed barricades, driving around them or driving in the ditches to get around the barricades to drive in areas closed to traffic.

To stop the driving in the construction areas, a Highway Patrol officer has been stationed on the streets near the construction. Any drivers caught in those areas are subject to a fine. Recent legislation has increased the fine to $1,000.

Another concern has been that motorists going south on Redwing Avenue (the detour around the construction) have seen a sign pointing to east end businesses.

Museus said the sign is in reference to New Prague Ford Mercury and New Prague Chevy, east of the road construction.

In addition, Museus said there was a miscommunication about the placement of a road closed sign on the east side of the project. Initially, traffic was allowed to go east off of Chalupsky and Alton avenues. Museus said that led to unsafe driving conditions, including several near misses between vehicles and construction equipment. Barricades were put in place and and a State Patrol vehicle has been stationed near there to discourage people from driving around the barricades.

Residents and others with concerns about the roadwork are encouraged to attend a public meeting held each Monday at 1:30 p.m. at MnDOT's site office located at the southwest quadrant of the highway and Chalupsky Avenue.

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