Neighbors rejoiced at the smell of hot asphalt being laid on Akin Road and 195th Street last week. Surely the laying of blacktop means the construction aggravation, which closed the intersection in April, must be almost over.

Not exactly, said city engineer Kevin Schorzman. “Just because you see the blacktop on there, doesn’t mean we’re done.”

The intersection isn’t slated to open until the end of August, he said. He urged patience, a trait growing thin with some residents.

“It’s a mess,” said Lisa Renken, 47, who lives on the south side of 195th Street. “I live in the neighborhood that you can’t get in or out of.”

The opening would conclude the first of three phases of reconstruction of 195th, which will add traffic circles to three intersections: Akin Road, Pilot Knob Road and Flagstaff Avenue.

Schorzman said the rainy spring and summer caused some setbacks, but both Akin Road and Flagstaff Avenue are expected to open before school starts.

A pedestrian underpass which will allow walkers to cross under 195th Street to Meadowview Elementary School is nearly complete.

Unfortunately for drivers, Pilot Knob’s intersection will close before Labor Day, causing traffic to be diverted to Hwy. 50, Flagstaff Avenue and Hwy. 3. Pilot Knob sits in the center of the other two intersections on 195th and will be closed the longest. According to the Dakota County website, Pilot Knob, or County Road 31, will be widened to a four-lane highway from 190th Street to the 195th Street intersection. The project isn’t expected to be finished until next July, though all intersections should be open by the end of October.

The city and county have planned a temporary change at the intersection of Flagstaff Avenue and Hwy. 50 to accommodate the traffic leaving the high school.

“We are going to force all the traffic going from Lakeville to Farmington into that south, furthest south lane of Hwy. 50,” Schorzman explained. “What that is going to do is leave that north lane of Hwy. 50 open and free of traffic. So the traffic that’s on Flagstaff that wants to turn left and come into town can actually come into a protected zone, get on Hwy. 50 and just drive without having to merge into traffic.”

He cautioned that drivers who like to turn right and then do a U-turn on Hwy. 50 will not be able to do that once the lane is reconfigured.

While all residents have been inconvenienced by the construction, not all mind so much.

Jim and Laure Hallamek have lived at the top of the hill near Meadowview Elementary since 1990. Their mailbox has been moved a block away and they have been stopped by police and construction workers many times. Those are minor issues, they say, compared to the traffic they’ll be fighting once the road reopens.

“This brought back memories of 25 years ago when this was a gravel road,” Jim said. His wife, Laure agreed. “We’re gonna absolutely hate it when this gets done. The quiet is nice.”