LAKE CITY -- Construction crews from Rochester Sand and Gravel finished Section 2 of the Highway 61 reconstruction project and that section from Lakewood Avenue to Lyon Avenue opened to traffic on Aug. 20.

The curbs and gutters, sidewalks, roadway, and landscaping are all in place, and the only major thing missing is the traffic signal at Marion Street. When crews dug in to place the base of the signal, they discovered that they would have to set it farther out than expected.

“As a result, the mast arm was too long,” said Cindy Morgan, public engagement coordinator for Minnesota Department of Transportation District 6 in Rochester. “We had to order a new mast arm which won’t arrive until November. There is a temporary stop sign there for cross traffic on Marion to get across 61 which will stay in place for a couple of months. As soon as the new mast arm is delivered, it should be a simple install.”

Many downtown businesses regained street access when Highway 61 from Lakewood Ave. to Lyon Ave. reopened August 20. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia
Many downtown businesses regained street access when Highway 61 from Lakewood Ave. to Lyon Ave. reopened August 20. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia

With Section 2 open, the detour through Lake City is the shortest it has been during the project. Coming from the south, traffic will turn left on Lyon Avenue, then right on North Tenth Street, and right on Goodhue County Road 5 to return to Highway 61.

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Original plans had the Stage 3 detour using Seventh Street, but there were concerns about large trucks being able to make the turn onto that street.

“Seventh Street was chosen at first, because there were community concerns about the train causing traffic to back up,” Morgan said, “but it was determined that that wasn’t something that happened with the first two detours, so because we had confidence that that wasn’t going to be an issue, we decided to put it back onto Tenth Street”

MnDOT’s website reports that the overall reconstruction project in Lake City is 55% complete, with Section 3 at 20% complete. In that section, watermain work is 90%, road excavation is 50%, road backfill is 30%, and storm sewer installation is 60% complete.

Work continues on Section 3 of the Highway 61 project with approximately 20% of the work completed on that section. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia
Work continues on Section 3 of the Highway 61 project with approximately 20% of the work completed on that section. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia

Morgan said the project is still on track to finish in November, as projected initially.

“We are expecting to release another survey here within the next week,” she said. “That is going to be an opportunity for the community to give some feedback about how our communications have been going. That survey will be linked on the web page, and we will share it with social media.”

More information about the project is available on the MnDOT website at www.dot.state.mn.us/d6/projects/hwy61-lakecity-reconstruct/index.html and on the city of Lake City website at www.ci.lake-city.mn.us/index.asp?SEC=9B6BB201-795C-4553-8A43-81A7DDC347FF&DE=9D010161-C037-493F-960B-0ED116A8C1B2.