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Boreal Community Media

Road construction in Two Harbors to begin after the holiday.

May 21, 2018 07:12AM ● By Editor

By Jamey Malcomb of the Lake County News Chronicle - May 21, 2018

Just after the Memorial Day weekend, contractors and construction equipment will descend on the North Shore for Minnesota Department of Transportation's project aiming to improve traffic through Two Harbors.

The 4-mile, $3.6 million project will repave Highway 61 from Eighth Street in Two Harbors up to the Silver Creek Tunnel and the three traffic signals between Eighth and Fourth streets. The project also includes changing the striping through town to create a turn lane all the way through Two Harbors' business district.

The goal of the project is to improve the flow of traffic through Two Harbors, particularly during high-volume times in the late summer and early fall.

The traffic signals will replace the oldest lights in MnDOT's District 1, which includes all of northeastern Minnesota. The new lights will communicate with each other to increase the flow of traffic through town during high-traffic times.

In addition to changes to turn lanes, the project includes some storm sewer, sidewalk and rural culvert work. At the intersection of highways 61 and 2, MnDOT plans to create a "free right" turn going south on Highway 61.

The "rural" section, which starts just north of Two Harbors on Highway 61, will begin just after Memorial Day and will continue until the end of July. Motorists can expect someone flagging traffic or temporary signals, particularly where culvert work is being done, but one lane of traffic will remain open at all times.

Work at the intersection of highways 2 and 61 will begin July 30, where the intersection will be widened to make room for turn lanes in all directions. MnDOT project engineer Brett Weybright said the north side of the intersection, the side with the Holiday Station and the Li'l Dog Car and Pet Wash, will remain open at all times due to the heavier volume of traffic. Weybright said the south side of the intersection will be closed periodically for the work to be completed.

The final phase of the project, which also includes the striping changes and signal replacement, will begin just after Labor Day and continue through mid-October. Side streets and entrances may be closed for short durations, but MnDOT plans to maintain a single lane of traffic through town at all times.

Weybright acknowledged traffic could back up while the "urban" work through Two Harbors is completed, but said there were plenty of side streets local residents can use to bypass the construction zone altogether.

MnDOT hosted a public meeting Wednesday, May 16, at the Law Enforcement Center in Two Harbors to summarize the project and timeline as well as introduce KGM Contractors Inc., MnDOT's selected contractor for the project.

MnDOT will host regular public meetings for residents to voice their concerns throughout the urban phase of the project.

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