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Main Avenue construction starts bright and early Monday morning.

Jon Olson, Ulteig Engineers project manager, gave a briefing on the project this week.

"The next couple weeks will be some of the biggest hurdles," he said.

Traffic and erosion control signs will be in place before Monday to help customers find their way downtown.

Starting Monday morning, the milling machine will be on Main Avenue. Crews will first be removing the asphalt. A crew also will start saw cutting around awning posts to prepare for sidewalk removal.

Curb and sidewalk removal will begin Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 3rd Street going north. Sidewalks and curbs south of 3rd Street are scheduled to be removed starting Monday, Aug. 9.

Concrete from the sidewalks and curbs will be removed and dumped in the center of the street, said RL Larson Excavating project superintendent Jeff Wipper. All the concrete will be hauled, crushed off site and reused in the base when the street is resurfaced.

Once the sidewalk is removed, crews will work to get temporary water service up and running.

Jeff Wipper, project superintendent for RL Larson, said the switchover should take only 15-20 minutes. Property owners will be notified individually when this will take place.

Temporary sidewalks will be installed after the sidewalk is removed so most front business entrances will be usable. Many businesses have worked on back entrances for customers to use during the construction. Those entrances will be marked.

The existing street lights will be reused after the project but will not be working during the project. The street will be dark. If businesses have outside lights, it is suggested these lights be left on. Police chief Terry Eilers said officers will be patrolling.

"We've got four-wheel drive," he said.

Olson said businesses should "earthquake proof" merchandise because there will be a lot of vibration from the concrete removal.

Alleys will be restricted to pedestrians with the exception of the east alley between 3rd and 4th Street where the post office drop boxes are located.

Barricades can easily be removed, however, if a delivery truck needs to get through.

The asphalt and concrete removal can be done even if there is rain. The only part of the project that could be delayed with rain is the concrete work. If that becomes a problem a temporary layer of asphalt would be put over the street over the winter and the concrete work would be completed in the spring.

Construction crews will work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or even later at least five days a week. There could be some weekend work.

Employees are encouraged to park as far away from downtown as possible to provide places for customers to park.

"This has been a project in the making for a while," Olson said. "It's been a pleasure so far."

Weekly construction meetings will be held at 8 a.m. Thursdays, starting Aug. 5 at Bella Caffé.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561