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Road Construction to Backup Grand Avenue Again

Updated: 12/18/2013 10:09 PM
Created: 12/18/2013 9:19 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Highway 23/Grand Avenue will get a big makeover in coming years so transportation officials went over rough drafts of the plans for residents at a meeting Wednesday night.

Grand Avenue turns into Highway 23 just west of Interstate 35 in West Duluth and that is where the restoration project will start in the summer of 2015.

An average of 15,000 vehicles travel sections of the highway every day, but Minnesota Department of Transportation officials said the 5 mile mill and overlay project will give the road another 8 to 12 years of life.

Construction will not start for a year and a half, but Project Engineer Greg Stower said residents have already expressed complaints to the City of Duluth.

“The neighbors let us know they want to be informed ahead of time so they can plan detours ahead of time and not drive right into the middle of a construction project,” Stoewer said.

He said some intersections onto Grand Avenue will be relocated or closed, and there will also be improvements for pedestrian safety on the busy street.

“You got other people trying to cross the road to get to the store or get in the bus and it's dangerous for them,” Stoewer said. “We want to do things to make the crossings safer and put lights at the bus stops at night.”

He said $3 million of federal money will pay for those safety features. MnDOT officials said the mill and overlay is the bulk of the project and will cost between $10 and $15 million.

The project will be an inconvenience as it rolls down Grand Avenue, but engineers said it will make the road smoother and safer.

MnDOT officials said the short construction season means only half of the project will be completed in 2015. Construction will stop for the winter and finish up in the summer of 2016.

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