Work on 18th Avenue NW nears completion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

Sometime soon, Crane Creek Construction Inc. will finish making improvements on 18th Avenue NW.

A second layer of asphalt will be applied and pavement markings painted before the project is declared "Done."

The 10-block stretch of roadway is within its $2.1 million budget, Mower County Engineer Michal Hanson said.

Email newsletter signup

"They will apply the final layer of asphalt sometime Monday or Tuesday night next week and then all they will have to do is the pavement markings and that's it," Hanson said.

This week, sod is being installed along the roadway and all the shrubs are in place in the traffic medians. Hanson said the sod installation is about "three-fourths done."

There will not be any planters hung on the 61 antique-looking street lights. Hanson said while the flowers are still displayed in some planters in the greater downtown area, they are not earmarked for the 18th Avenue NW area.

The stretch of 18th Avenue NW is arguably one of the busiest stretches of Mower County or city of Austin roadway.

It serves Oak Park Mall and all the businesses on either side of 18th Avenue NW, including Culver's, HyVee, Shopko, Cash Wise Foods, Kmart, Wagner Hardware, Applebee's and the rest of a growing number of commercial businesses.

Also, Cooperative Response Center's new facility is located at the end of a cul-de-sac off 18th Avenue NW.

For motorists along U.S. Highway 218, 18th Avenue NW -- also known as Mower County Highway 27 -- is an artery to Target and an adjacent strip mall west of the highway. Mower County Highway 27, in turn brings traffic from the far western countryside into the city.

By any measure, it's a very busy stretch of roadway.

According to Hanson, the additional aesthetic effects along 18th Avenue NW were the result of negotiations between the city and the county.

"The city asked for them and a joint committee of city council and staff and county officials met to decide what could be done," Hanson said.

With new turning lanes and controlled intersections, it is also hoped the street's safety has been improved for motorists and pedestrians.

Also this summer, Mower County residents will see another important artery paved.

The 13.5 mile stretch of Mower County Highway 14 from the city of LeRoy to Minnesota Highway 16 is the only other paving project slated for the 2003 construction season, according to Hanson.

"Paving could begin by the first week in July," Hanson said.

Meanwhile, the Mower County Highway Department is involved in bridge projects, including bridges on Mower County Highways 8 and 11.

The county has undertaken a massive program to correct bridge deficiencies with replacement or repair projects.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at