by ZACH KAYSER
State officials gave an update on the Mankato Avenue reconstruction project Tuesday to the Winona County Board, soon after the Winona City Council officially chose what aesthetic accoutrements will go into the design.
The project is planned to begin early next year and will involve redoing the road surface between Highway 61 and Sarnia Street, replacing the utility lines underneath the street, and replacing four stoplight intersections with roundabouts. A 10-foot-wide walking and biking trail will be installed on the west side of the street.
Chad Hanson, project manager with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), said construction costs would total about $13.5 million.
The majority of the project can be finished in one year after construction is initiated — as soon as possible next year, Hanson told the Winona County Board on Tuesday.
The intersection of Highway 61 and Highway 43 would be one of the busiest roundabouts in the area, Hanson said. “This will be one of the highest volume ones we have,” he said.
However, it was also one of highest volume traffic signals, Hanson said, with a stoplight that often fails.
County Board Chair Marcia Ward disagreed — she had never personally experienced the light going out so she considered it a matter of opinion. “I have never had a major personal experience with it,” she said. “Matter of opinion.”
In the event a train passes through to the north of the multi-lane roundabout on the intersection of highways 61 and 43, traffic can stop in the right lane while the left lane traffic can continue through the intersection, Hanson said.
At its meeting Aug. 2, the Winona City Council voted on which aesthetic design it wanted to see as part of the new Mankato Avenue, and picked the cheaper option.
Contacted by the Post, City Engineer Brian DeFrang said the aesthetic package would cost the city $50,000, allocated from the city’s fund of state aid money.
As to the design, DeFrang said there would be many trees and low maintenance shrubs lining the roadway. In addition, the design calls for riprap – a strip of 4-6 inch diameter rock similar to what exists in Levee Park. DeFrang said the city opted not to include colored concrete, as it would be expensive and difficult to match the pattern if portions ever needed to be replaced.
Overall, the city would pay about $450,000 in relation to the project, DeFrang said, most of which comes from the cost of replacing portions of three non state-aid streets that adjoin Mankato Avenue. The city plans to spend another $600,000 replacing sewer and water mains under Mankato Avenue.
A MnDOT public open house on the project is scheduled for Aug. 26 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the National Guard Armory in Winona. The open house will be hybridized, with attendees being able to participate both in person and online. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/mankatoavereconstruction.