Final Coffee and Conversation for Highway 53 Project

October 05, 2017 10:15 PM

The old Highway 53 has been removed. Concrete and utilities are gone, and the pathway is dirt now. Crews are working on stabilizing it, to prevent erosion. Most of this area is just a memory now, as people are traveling the new route and the tallest bridge in Minnesota.

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"It was a really nice piece of teamwork to get to this point," explained project director Pat Huston. He pointed out a temporary addition to the landscape. The old Mineview building is sitting on a section of the old 53, waiting to be transferred to the fairgrounds in Chisholm.

Striping and paving will be ongoing for a couple of more weeks. So keep an eye out for work zone speed limits of 40 mph. Normal speed on the bridge is 50 mph.

Crews are also working on putting in 4000 more feet of guardrail. "We put guardrail in by the book, but received some feedback, and listened. So we went and checked things out, and decided to add more throughout the project," Huston explained.

He shared that information at the final Coffee and Conversation meeting in Virginia. Dozens of people have attended over the years. And it's been beneficial for both sides.

Huston said, "We've been able to share information, good and bad, and we're keeping interested parties in the loop. They, in turn, through building relationships and trust, have become advocates for us."

Linnea Manning is one of the people who've become the core group. "At first, I was up in the air about the project. But as I attended more meetings, I became 100% on board, and the outcome has been amazing."

She lives in Midway, and has felt the impact of the whole project. Now, she's proud to say she had her voice heard. "I think we all are," she said of the group.

MnDOT is so impressed with how the process went, they are going to keep the work group going. It's likely a Coffee and Conversation will take place once a quarter, to discuss regional and global transportation issues.

As for the 53 project, there will also be some minor work that needs to be finished up next spring. 



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