After a summer of detours and disruptions, driving through Farmington’s midsection finally returned to normal last Friday.

Well, normal with a few more roundabouts.

The final barricades for Dakota County’s 195th Street project came down Friday, clearing the way for east-west traffic along that street’s length and north-south traffic through the reopened intersection of 195th and Pilot Knob Road. It was the first time since June at least part of 195th Street was not closed for construction.

Farmington city engineer Kevin Schorzman warned going in that the project would be a pain. Construction crews were trying to squeeze into one summer a project that would normally take two. There were three roundabouts to build, an entire road to replace and expand and a pedestrian tunnel to install.

Oh, and there were two schools that absolutely had to be available to students by the time classes resumed in September.

“That’s definitely hard,” said Ross Beckwith, Dakota County construction engineer. “We couldn’t start until school was out and it had to be done before school was open. Those are two hard points.

“It was definitely challenging, and people put in a lot of time to make it happen.”

There was some concern as the start of the school year approached that schools would have to change their start and end times to make busing work within the restrictions created by construction. But the changes were ultimately not needed.

In addition to the tight timeline, construction crews had to deal with a rainy summer, Beckwith said.

“We couldn’t even work a full week most of the summer (because of rain),” he said.

The original deadline for the project was late October or early November. November 13 might sneak into the mid-November range, but Schorzman said he’s still happy with the speed with which work got done.

For the most part, things went smoothly, Schorzman said. There were some complaints as each of the project’s three phases started and drivers had to get used to new detours, but people managed, he said. The city took complaints from time to time about people speeding through neighborhoods, but Schorzman said when police monitored the areas they didn’t find problems. It was typically a matter of more traffic, not necessarily faster traffic, Schorzman said.

“I would say this is probably the best project I’ve ever worked on from the standpoint of impacting this many people and the few number of complaints or irate citizens we dealt with,” Schorzman said.

The construction work is not entirely done. There is still cleanup work and some other details to take care of in the spring. But for the first time since spring, the road is clear.