New box-culvert crossings pitched over Dobbins Creek

By Tim Ruzek

Post-Bulletin, Austin MN

Citizens can give feedback next week on the proposed replacement of Interstate 90’s crossing over Dobbins Creek in northeast Austin.

With the city of Austin, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is planning a public information meeting to discuss MnDOT’s plans for replacing the existing box culverts under I-90 and the adjacent frontage roads at Dobbins Creek, where it becomes East Side Lake.

The box culverts are in poor condition, with cracking and spalling; they date back to when the interstate was created in the 1950s, according to MnDOT officials.


Construction of new box culverts is scheduled for spring with completion expected by fall. Traffic on I-90 would be affected in several ways.

In September, the Austin City Council heard plans for the project from MnDOT officials and hydraulics experts, who said the plan aims to keep the same flow hydraulics for Dobbins Creek with the new culverts.

Details of the plan call for building two culverts in a newly created channel for Dobbins Creek under I-90 just east of the current culverts. The waterway’s current path then would be filled.

Designers are trying to replace the culverts without harming properties upstream or downstream from I-90. The goal, officials have said, is to not worsen flooding in either direction from the I-90 crossing.

In June, Dobbins Creek, which has a dam on it to form East Side Lake, had a near record flood crest and flowed over I-90, shutting down the freeway for hours. Homes upstream and downstream were flooded.

City Engineer Jon Erichson has said officials can’t choose between the property owners on either side because the project shouldn’t create winners and losers. The city, he said, has to maintain what’s there unless it conducts some huge property buyouts.

Public meeting

Who: Minnesota Department of Transportation and city of Austin.


What: Public informational meeting on plans to replace Interstate 90 crossing over Dobbins Creek.

Where: Council chambers, Austin Municipal Building, 500 Fourth Ave. N.E.

When: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 13.

What To Read Next
Get Local