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I-90 traffic will flow around bridge work

Three of four projects will be started this year

What’s being replaced:

• "Flyover" bridge for westbound I-90 traffic exiting onto Oakland Place Northeast. Built in 1959.

• I-90’s double-box culvert crossing over Dobbins Creek in northeast Austin. Built in 1957.

• West- and eastbound I-90 bridges over Turtle Creek in northwest Austin. Built in 1959; remodeled and widened in 1980.

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Source: MnDOT.

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

Motoring through Austin on Interstate 90 will have a few new turns this summer.

State transportation officials are preparing to start an estimated $12 million bridge replacement project possibly by mid-July for several spots on I-90.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation in Rochester will accept bids June 17 for the "design-build, best value" project, said Terry Ward, a MnDOT project manager.

Bridges being replaced include the west- and eastbound I-90 bridges over Turtle Creek in northwest Austin; the I-90 double-box culvert for Dobbins Creek in northeast Austin; and the "flyover" bridge taking westbound I-90 traffic to Oakland Place Northeast.

Locations still need to be picked for I-90 vehicles to cross over into single-lane traffic on one side of the freeway during the work on at Turtle and Dobbins creeks, Ward said.

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Work on the bridges — all 50 years or older — will be awarded under one contract, Ward said. They needed major maintenance funds to preserve them or be replaced, he said.

Funding is coming from state and federal sources, including the special legislation after the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis for certain bridges to be replaced, said Krystal Ohlhaber, a MnDOT community relations coordinator.

Federal stimulus funds specifically are funding the flyover bridge replacement.

MnDOT officials are hopeful field work could begin in mid-July, including demolishing the flyover bridge.

‘Flyover’ bridge

Removing the flyover bridge, just east of Dobbins Creek, will happen during a weekend, which still needs to be set, Ward said.

The bridge’s replacement likely won’t be opened to traffic until spring or summer 2010, Ward said.

For the demolition, traffic on I-90 will be rerouted during a weekend because "we can’t safely run traffic under the bridge," he said.

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I-90’s closure likely would start on a Friday evening and reopen before Monday morning’s work day, he said.

Traffic on I-90 will have to use U.S. 218 North to the west and Minnesota Highway 56 to the east to connect to several east-west roadways to get around the closed portion, he said.

Without the flyover bridge, westbound I-90 traffic could exit at U.S. 218 South and go south to Oakland Avenue to get back to Oakland Place, he said.

Dobbins crossing

A new double-box culvert will be installed for I-90 over Dobbins Creek, with work likely starting in July and ending by Nov. 15.

Plans involve creating a new culvert about 50 feet east of the existing one, Ward said, and rerouting the creek where it enters East Side Lake.

The westbound I-90 on-ramp from U.S. 218 South will be closed for the flyover and Dobbins projects, Ward said. Anyone coming up U.S. 218 South looking to go west on I-90 will have to head east on I-90 to 28th Street Northeast, exit, then head west, he said.

A new concrete barrier also will be installed.

Turtle Creek bridges

One of the I-90 bridges over Turtle Creek will be replaced this year, and the other in 2010, said Ward, but it’s not yet known which will be first. This year’s bridge should be done by Nov. 15.

For more information, go to Postbulletin.com/weblinks.

Minnesota Department of Transportation

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/

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