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Roadwork projects take holiday hiatus; end nears

Roadwork on several construction projects is heading toward the finish line - much to the relief of Hubbard County residents and their summer guests.

Pleasant Avenue is on target to open Sept. 19, unless contractors encounter unforeseen circumstances, said assistant county engineer Jed Nordin.

Work began Thursday on Second and Fourth streets, which will be paved when Pleasant Avenue is resurfaced. Nordin said the underground work will start on the two side streets next week. The work runs from Pleasant to Court Avenue.

Nordin said there will be some landscaping work down Pleasant Avenue later this fall, but the street will be open and the work won't disrupt traffic. The last phase in September will be the paving, he said.

Highway 34 is still on target to be finished in early November, contractors said Thursday.

Workers will quit Friday at 3 p.m. and resume work Tuesday morning to accommodate Labor Day traffic.

Construction crews hope to open the long-awaited access road off Highway 34 to Wal-Mart by late October, said construction foreman Al Minnerath.

Shoulder, culvert and sewer work on Highway 34 from Park Rapids to Akeley will stop at noon Friday and resume Tuesday morning so holiday travelers will have two lanes of traffic open, said Minnesota Department of Transportation (DOT) supervisor Larry Randall.

"It will still be a construction zone," but both lanes of traffic will be open, he said.

Meanwhile major resurfacing work from Akeley to Walker will be completed sometime this fall, Randall said.

The final stretch, resurfacing from Park Rapids to Akeley on Highway 34, will take place sometime in 2011, Randall said. Bids will be let in February 2011.

Ironically, the Highway 34 workers would like to see more rain.

"It's good for the compaction of the sand," said Gary Fingelson, supervisor for one of the subcontractors on the main project.

And there may be some peripheral work in Henrietta Township once Highway 34 is finished. Because township roads that weren't intended as detour routes have nevertheless carried heavy traffic loads, some asphalt repair will be necessary to restore the surfaces.

Right now, gravel patches cover worn areas of 170th Street. Those will be repaired, Randall said.

And 169th Avenue may need some touching up when the main highway work is completed.

Highway 71 north of Park Rapids is expected to be completed this week, MN DOT officials said.