Prepare for more delays on Hastings bridge
The Highway 61 bridge in Hastings is about to get a whole lot more orange in the coming weeks.
Next, one northbound lane of traffic will be shut down across the bridge starting early Monday morning. That lane will be shut down for about three weeks as crews work to repair the flaking concrete on the bridge barrier.
By the middle of the next week, approximately July 30, one southbound lane will be closed down, too, for the same work.
The flaking concrete will be removed, a new surface will be applied and it will then be painted.
The bridge is expected to have both lanes running again by about Aug. 20.
The revised timeline for the bridge construction put the completion date for the project at July 7, 2014. That date has come and gone and work remains to be done, said Minnesota Department of Transportation project manager Steve Kordosky.
MnDOT and the contractor, Lunda/Ames, have negotiated an agreement because of the delays, Kordosky said.
MnDOT had some projects that it was going to have to pay for as part of the project. Kordosky said that about 12 such projects existed, such as one involving some sand that was removed from the river.
The sand had been piled in the staging area, and it was going to be MnDOT’s responsibility to pay for the sand to be removed.
The new agreement, though, puts that responsibility back on the contractor’s shoulders.
“The contractor has agreed to absorb the cost of removing the sand at their own expense in consideration for not paying damages for not being done,” Kordosky said.
Readers of the Star Gazette have asked about the incentive that was paid to the contractors to get the bridge open in November and how these delays have impacted that incentive.
The contractor did receive the maximum incentive of $300,000 for opening the bridge in November to two lanes of traffic in each direction.
Kordosky said that the goal there was to have the bridge open in full over the winter.
“The incentive was based on getting the bridge opened – to turn it over to the traveling public for use,” he said. “It was fully open all winter long. We knew in that agreement that we were going to have work following up in the spring of 2014 that involved some lane closures. Overall, we wanted the bridge fully opened for the winter of 2013-14.”
The staging area for the project, located between the boat launch and the lock and dam, will be restored to its pre-project condition starting in the spring of 2015, Kordosky said.
Native prairie grasses and flowers will be planted in the area.