The Cambridge City Council on Jan. 21 approved construction and detour agreements with the state to help alleviate the impact on the traveling public during this year’s Highway 95 bridge reconstruction project.
For the $5.8 million project, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will remove the existing bridge over the Rum River and replace it with a new structure with smoother surfaces, wider shoulders and approaches, and overhead lighting for improved safety. Construction on 95, from just west of County Road 14 to Fern Street in the city, is scheduled to begin in April and conclude in October of this year.
For traffic coming from the west, Highway 95 motorists will be detoured to Second Avenue Southwest by the college and across the river to Fern Street. With a left turn (north) onto Fern, motorists will return to Highway 95 at the traffic signals by Bridge Park Apartments. The total distance of the detour is 0.53 mile.
At the council meeting, City Administrator Lynda Woulfe noted that reconstructing the city’s Second Avenue Southwest bridge two years ago makes it capable of handling the highway traffic during MnDOT’s bridge replacement.
In fact, if the Second Avenue bridge had not been replaced, she added, traffic would have had to head south to Isanti or north to Grandy for detour routes.
Woulfe also said when MnDOT uses city streets for detours like this one, the state will set up and remove the detour and compensate the city for the temporary higher use of local streets. As a result, the state is willing to reimburse the city $7,103 based on the road life affected by the detour or the construction project’s six-month time frame.
The city will permit 10-ton axle loads on the detour route. Those exceeding the limit will not be authorized except in cases of extreme emergency.
In addition, the state may install, maintain and remove any traffic control devices it considers necessary to properly control the detoured traffic. The state will do any necessary patching and maintenance on the roadway or shoulder of the city streets used for the detour at no expense to the city.
During the meeting, Council Member Chris Caulk, with his background in law enforcement, thought “no parking” signs should be placed at certain parts of the streets affected by the detour for visibility and safety precautions. The council may act on imposing this restriction at a future meeting. Caulk also asked city staff to talk to the Patriot Guard about looking at an alternative route for its annual summer ride, since the city will not be able to shut down Second Avenue due to the detour.
Also at no cost to the city, MnDOT has agreed to install lighting on the Highway 95 bridge. In addition, the state plans to regrade the city-owned canoe landing area on the southwest side of the Highway 95 bridge for stormwater treatment and to reduce erosion by the river. The timber stairway access to the river will be replaced, as well.