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‘A whole lot of shaking going on’

By Staff | Jul 3, 2016

Let’s be honest.

You can hardly throw a stick in Blue Earth without hitting a street or parking lot paving construction project either one underway, an area that was just finished, or one that is still on the docket for this summer.

Let’s review.

There is the ‘big’ one that is currently happening in the downtown area. That one covers two blocks of Main Street and one block of Sixth. That block of Sixth Street has the underground work done, the gravel base installed, curb and gutter in place, and, as this column was being written, the sidewalks were being poured.

In other words, it’s darn near completed. There will be nothing left to do except the bituminous paving, which will be done at the same time as the other two blocks. But we should soon be able to drive on and park on that street, although it will be packed gravel.

The block of Main between Fifth and Sixth streets has been torn up and dug up several times. But, crews have kept their promise and the sidewalks on this block have remained in place. For those of us who work in a business just a few feet away from some of the heavy equipment, we have gotten used to the walls shaking.

The work on the block of Main between Sixth and Seventh hasn’t started yet.

Then the North Main project, between Leland Parkway and Fairgrounds Road, is slated to have begun at the time this week’s issue of the Register officially hits your mailbox Tuesday, July 5.

Since this project includes tearing out the Main Street bridge over the Blue Earth River and replacing it with a new one, that road will be unusable for some time.

While these are the two largest construction projects, there are plenty more.

Crews have already installed the final lift of asphalt on last summer’s project in the Tanglewood area in Blue Earth, and finished a mill and overlay on other streets in the south part of the city.

The city is also planning to do a major overhaul of the parking lot at the Ag Center, and at the Faribault County Fitness Center in the Faribault County Fairgrounds.

And while they are in the fairgrounds, where the fitness center is located, they decided to also pave some streets there as well. You may or may not realize that a large portion of the fairgrounds is actually a Blue Earth city park, and so the ‘streets’ inside the fairgrounds are actual city streets.

This project inside the fairgrounds is new, just recently added to the docket.

So is one just announced by the Faribault County Highway Department.

They plan on doing a new process ‘micro surfacing process’ in paving several county roads located inside the city limits of Blue Earth. One area is on Fairgrounds Road from Buccaneer Drive to County State Aid Highway 11 (400th Avenue) and the other one is on Leland Parkway from Commerce Street to the west city limits.

The new ‘micro surfacing process involves the placement of two layers of an asphalt/rock mixture on an existing bituminous pavement, according to information from the highway department. While it is the first time they have been used, many counties have and have had success with it.

Will all this construction be inconvenient? You bet it is, and it will continue to be, right through to fall.

But, as I have written in this space before, it is necessary work and so we all have to put up with a little extra driving around the work to get to where we are going.

Most folks have quickly adapted and just map out a new route to get from where they are to where they are going.

And, as we have seen in the downtown project, the sidewalks have stayed in place (at least with half their original width) until the very end, when they are removed and replaced with all new concrete.

Yes, it is a construction zone. But so far you can still get into the front doors of many businesses, or the back doors if necessary for short periods of time.

And, we hope you do.

Once again I urge you to not abandon going to downtown Blue Earth, or to the county fair, or anywhere else, just because there might be some construction in your way.

Your local businesses have always needed your support in order to survive, and never more so than these past several summers when first Highway 169 was torn up, and now Main Street.

Let’s be honest. It is important to support your local community and that includes shopping locally just as much as you can. Even when it is a little more difficult to get to the stores. Your local business owners will appreciate it.