Construction project set from I-90 through Mapleview

A reconstruction of a 1.93 mile stretch of one of the busiest roads in Mower County is set to begin this summer.

County State Aid Highway 45, also known as Fourth Street Northwest, will be reconstructed this summer and fall from Interstate 90 through Mapleview to Highway 218. Construction is expected to begin mid- to late June and go through October before finishing touches are completed next spring.

The project will be done in about five phases to allow continued use of parts of the roadway. County engineer Mike Hanson said the first part of the project will be the stretch from I-90 to 18th Avenue Northwest, which is a key hub to the mall and other retail stores along the road. Hanson said they hope to complete that stretch within the first month of the project.

While Hanson said Fourth Street is one of the busiest roads in the county; traffic patterns decrease the closer to Highway 218. An average of 10,000 cars drive the road each day from I-90 to 18th Avenue. That number declines to 7,000 from 18th Avenue to 21st Avenue. It drops to about 4,000 a day between 21st Avenue and Highway 25. Only about 1,600 cars drive from there to Highway 218 each day.

Hanson said the road will be designed differently along the route to fit the various traffic needs.

While access will be available during the project to businesses and homes affected by the construction, the public is asked to use alternate routes whenever possible to reduce congestion during construction. A temporary one-way access from Fourth Street to the frontage road near the Holiday Inn will provide increased access to nearby businesses.

“We think we got a good plan,” Hanson said. “If something happens during construction, we’ll change the plan accordingly to make it work for the public and business people.”

Hanson said the highway department will work with all the businesses affected in the construction area.

The new road will be an urban section with curb and gutter from I-90 to Murphy Creek, followed by a typical rural road the rest of the way to Highway 218.

From I-90 to 18th Avenue, the road will be widened by one lane. A third northbound will be added as a dedicated turn lane at 17th Avenue Northwest by Worlein Funeral Home. Then there will be a dedicated turn lane at 18th Avenue with one lane continuing north toward Highway 218.

There will be two southbound lanes with turn options at 17th Avenue and at the ramps to Interstate 90.

Highway 45 will also be widened by one lane from 18th Avenue to Murphy Creek with one northbound lane and one southbound lane divided by a continuous two-way center turn lane. The turn lane will be available for people turn into businesses as well as driveways. The north and southbound lanes will each be 11 feet wide with a 6-foot area between the lane and the curb.

Crews will replace an 80-year-old box culvert bridge at Murphy Creek.

From Murphy Creek to Highway 218, the road will be rebuilt as two rural lanes with 12-foot lanes and an 8-foot paved shoulder. There will be turn lanes at County State Aid Highway 25 and possibly a right turn lane at Highway 218.

The project was submitted to officials at the state Capitol for approval.

As part of the project, the sidewalk along Oakwood Cemetery on the east side of 4th Street will be redone and extended by about two blocks from I-90 to 21st Avenue, where there will be a pedestrian crossing at Cedar Valley Services. Hanson said the entire roadway will be bicycle friendly, as the proposed sidewalk will be wide enough for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Plus, the paved shoulders between the road and curb will allow for bicycle traffic all the way to Highway 218.

The existing stop light at 18th Avenue will be remodeled to fit the proposed lanes, but no other stop lights will be added.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday to disallow parking permanently from I-90 to Murphy Creek. Parking will be allowed continuing north.

The project will be funded by federal and state aid dollars.