As Robin would say, “Holy hard hat, Batman!”
It is construction season in Minnesota. You know, that short time of year when it isn’t winter.
If you live by, work at, or just walk or drive around the United Hospital in Blue Earth, you can get a quick idea of what construction is all about.
First off, the hospital is in full construction mode on their new clinic, with workers like little ants climbing all over the new building. Plus, they have had to remove tons of dirt for the new parking lot. That means lots of heavy equipment and trucks moving in and out.
Then, there is construction happening on several streets in the neighborhoods near the hospital.
The Eighth and Moore street project, which was done last year, is being prepped for its final ‘lift’ (or layer) of asphalt. That should be happening soon, City Engineer Bill Sayre says.
If you walk by those streets, you can see they have turned out quite nicely; including the sidewalks and the restored boulevards with new sod.
Then, there is the 10th and Moore street project. The underground work was done last summer, making for a muddy, gravelly mess this spring. Now, however, workers have re-graded the streets, and concrete sidewalks, curb and gutter were being poured like crazy on Wednesday.
They were to be done with that by Friday of last week, and the first lift of asphalt expected to come this week or next. That was the plan before three days of rain hit the Blue Earth area last week, delaying much of the construction.
That is not all that is happening here, construction-wise, this summer.
As the 2008 and 2009 street projects near completion, the 2010 one is just ready to get underway.
That project will involve six blocks of Fourth Street. It will mean digging up the street and replacing sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water lines. Afterwards, though, it will mean another all newly paved street, complete with new sidewalks. In other words, it will be pretty nice.
As you walk around Blue Earth, there is not a doubt in anyone’s mind that many of the streets – and the sidewalks – need to be redone. It is good to see there is a plan in place to begin to do this.
There is a cost, of course. We are all paying for a lot of the work with our monthly utility bills and property taxes, plus individual property owners are seeing some substantial assessments.
But, I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t feel it is needed, and that it is about time the problem is being addressed.
There are more projects in the works, so get prepared.
The county has gotten a bid to replace the bridge by the swimming pool. County Engineer John McDonald says the demolition of the old bridge and the construction of a new one is slated to begin right around the Fourth of July – and it will last three months.
That will create a long detour for folks trying to come into Blue Earth from the southwest. And, since there is a housing development located out there, that will affect quite a few people.
Blue Earth Area Schools transportation director Dan Brod was not happy to learn that the construction will not be completed before school begins. Buses will have to spend several weeks on the detour route.
Then, there are also several sewer line projects planned for North Main Street, from Leland Parkway, north to the fairgrounds.
Blue Earth isn’t the only city in Faribault County affected.
Elmore is having six blocks torn up and replaced, complete with new underground utilities. In a town the size of Elmore, six blocks is a substantial amount of the town to be torn up at once.
Yes, it might cause an inconvenience or two, but these construction projects are all necessary.
And, when they are completed, they will make for a much better looking and improved city as well.