U.S. 52 repairs set for summer
By Laura Gossman
CHATFIELD — The bumpy ride from Fountain to Marion on U.S. 52 should get a lot smoother this summer.
Minnesota Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kristine Hernandez said the road project has been moved up on MnDOT’s schedule.
The decision pleased residents in Chatfield and Fountain, who had inundated MnDOT with complaints about deep potholes and crumbling shoulders.
"It felt like you were driving on washboards last winter," Tena Churchward of rural Fountain said Wednesday while shopping at Kwik Trip.
Road crews will start working on a $1.4 million mill and overlay project on a nearly 12-mile stretch of U.S. 52 from Chatfield to Marion in May and will finish by July.
The second mill and overlay project from Fountain to Chatfield will begin in July and will finish in September. That project is estimate to cost $1.1 million.
The Chatfield to Marion project had been scheduled for repairs in 2011, but MnDOT was able to secure emergency funds from its bridge and road construction fund. Hernandez said between $500,000 to $1 million normally is kept in the fund.
"It’s a fund that our district can use for roads or bridges that have significantly deteriorated during the winter months," Hernandez said. "We’re using the entire fund for the project."
MnDOT maintenance crews patched joints and cracks last summer. They also repaved a lane and widened an area near Fountain.
"It’s unfortunate, but this is not the worst road in our district," Hernandez said. "There’s just not enough money to fix everything."
A third overlay project on about four miles of Minnesota Highway 30 will extend from Chatfield to Cummingsville.
Hernandez said lane closures are expected for the two U.S. 52 projects. There likely will be a detour around Fountain while a culvert is put in, but she wasn’t sure when that would occur.
Churchward said she wouldn’t mind the inconvienience.
"This is a godsend," Churchward said. "It’s about time they take care of southern Minnesota."
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Minnesota Department of Transportation http://www.dot.state.mn.us/