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Bids go out for pair of Highway 61 projects

Two highway projects, one within the city of Hastings, the second just north of the city, are ready to be bid, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation 2010 construction plan released last week.

A new surface will be placed on two miles of Highway 61 (Vermillion Street) within the Hastings city limits, from Fifth Street to Cannon Street. The estimated cost of this project, according to MnDOT figures, is about $782,000.

The MnDOT project includes milling (the bad portions of the surfacing are ground off) and a new two-inch bituminous overlay of the road. It also includes pedestrian upgrades at the 10th and 15th street signals, new sidewalk near 24th and Vermillion streets, curb ramp modifications for Americans with Disability Act compliance.

MnDOT has also scheduled a signal upgrade at County Road 46 and Vermillion Street. The city of Hastings is partially funding the cost for the signal work.

"This new surfacing will extend the life of the road eight to 10 years," said Diane Langenbach, MnDOT project manager for the south metro area. "This is a maintenance project for the road."

MnDOT released the documents for the project in December, and they expect to award the contracts sometime this spring, she said.

The work on this project is expected to be completed between July 1 and July 31.

The July 31 completion date is very important as it is the earliest start date for some work to begin for the Highway 61 bridge replacement project.

The city of Hastings, through engineer Nick Egger, and the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce has been in ongoing discussions about this project and the bridge project with MnDOT.

At no time during this Vermillion Street project will the road be closed to traffic.

Updates will be provided through e-mail messages from MnDOT. Interested individuals will be able to sign up to receive those messages through the Hastings bridge site on the MnDOT website at

Highway 61 north

The second area highway project also involves Highway 61, north of Hastings, from Highway 10 to St. Paul Park. It is a resurfacing and rehabilitation project.

This project is estimated to cost $22 million (federal funds are provided) and will be completed by the end of the construction season - about Oct. 1.

This large project will connect with the completed work, and the work expected to be completed this year, as part of the Wakota Bridge project near Newport.

The project will raise the surface of the roadway nearly a foot, adding extra life to it.

There will be impact on traffic throughout the project but the road will not be closed. Two open lanes of traffic - one northbound, one southbound, will be maintained on the highway.