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Boreal Community Media

Project 61 Update: Temporary closure of Highway 61 on Wednesday

May 25, 2021 04:23PM ● By Editor
From the  Minnesota Department of Transportation - May 25, 2021

MnDOT's contractor will be constructing a water main crossing on Hwy 61 at the 5th Ave W intersection on Wednesday, May 26. Up to this point, a single lane of northbound Hwy 61 traffic has been maintained from 8th Ave W to 3rd Ave W/Wisconsin Street for downtown business access. In order to construct the water main crossing, the contractor will need to close this single lane, routing all northbound Hwy 61 traffic on the detour, which takes traffic up 8th Ave W to County Road 7 (5th Street), and to the east from there. This detour is already signed as such, additional barricades will be added for the hard closure of the single lane.

The Contract limits this work to a window of 8 hours, but if the work goes well the contractor does not expect to use all of that. During the closure, there will be no vehicular access to 61 from 8th, 7th, 6th, or 5th Ave W. The pedestrian crossing near 5th Ave W will be maintained for business access on the lake side of Hwy 61, and the contractor will work with residents along this segment to maintain their access. Following the completion of the water main crossing and backfill, the single lane will be reopened to northbound Hwy 61 traffic for downtown business access.

Please contact Ed Welch, MnDOT construction project engineer, with questions regarding this closure at [email protected] or 218-725-2769.

A public update meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, May 27 at 1 p.m. Instructions to log on can be found here:

Important reminders for motorists regarding work zone safety:

  • Slow down when approaching every work zone, then navigate through with care and caution.
  • Stay alert; work zones constantly change.
  • Watch for workers and slow moving equipment.
  • Obey posted speed limits. Fine for a violation in a work zone is $300.
  • Minimize distractions behind the wheel.
  • Be patient; expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
For more information on projects in northeast Minnesota, follow us on Facebook at and Twitter at @mndotnortheast. For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit
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