Drivers, businesses brace for disruptions from Kennedy Bridge work
Greg Radke doesn't know how much the construction on Kennedy Bridge will affect his business, just to the west, but he's worried. Radke is a managing partner at Spray Advantage Inc., an agricultural equipment company at 130 Gateway Drive. On Mond...
Greg Radke doesn't know how much the construction on Kennedy Bridge will affect his business, just to the west, but he's worried.
Radke is a managing partner at Spray Advantage Inc., an agricultural equipment company at 130 Gateway Drive. On Monday, days after work on the bridge began, orange barrels had cropped up not only along the length of the bridge deck, but in front of his business, blocking motorists from turning left directly into his parking lot.
"It does scare me," Radke said, recalling a story of a friend who owns a gas station near a summerlong road project. It took him years to make back the lost revenue-and this project, set to keep lane closures in place through late 2018, will last even longer. While it still looks possible for the semis that haul the company's equipment to get to the business, it will likely be more difficult, he said.
The barrels coincide with the beginning of lane closures along the Kennedy Bridge set to last until fall 2018. The $20 million project, led by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, will help prevent bridge corrosion and replace a support pier and the bridge deck. Federal and state funding from North Dakota and Minnesota is expected to pay for the project.
Two lanes on the bridge are expected to remain closed at all times until fall 2018, with several intermittent closures planned that will briefly detour traffic to DeMers Avenue and the Sorlie Bridge. Final work on the project, which could lead to more intermittent lane closures, is expected in 2019.
Paul Konickson, bridge engineer for MNDOT, said traffic is expected to be diverted to the two northernmost lanes of the bridge, though that won't be the only configuration motorists see this year.
Konickson said loads wider than 12 feet won't be permitted across the bridge, advising those with wide farm equipment and the like to seek an alternate route.
One solution could be allowing large equipment to use Sorlie Bridge for scheduled early morning crossings, Konickson said.
Konickson invited any business owners with concerns to contact MNDOT. Project details are available on the department's website at www.dot.state.mn.us .
But Radke-and motorists passing through-were resigned to the reality that the bridge needs repairs. Lori Schomer, who was filling up her car at the Simonson gas station on Gateway Drive, called the project a "necessary evil."
"It has to be done," she said.