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City OKs extended bridge work

When Lunda/Ames developed a bridge construction timeline, the contractors knew they would have to work around high water during the spring floods. They planned work outside the river the entire month of April. What they didn't expect, however, was for water levels to stay close to flood stage through May and into June.

"The river has stayed up higher than normal for an extended period of time," bridge project manager Steve Kordosky told the Hastings City Council Monday night.

The delay means that, unless crews can find a way to speed construction, the bridge would not be completed by its May 31, 2013, deadline.

To make up for lost time, Kordosky and MnDOT asked the city council to grant a variance to its noise ordinance, which would allow construction crews to work double shifts, at night and on weekends. The city's noise ordinance does not allow noise-emitting construction between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. during the week or between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. on weekends and holidays.

Kordosky said that care will be taken to minimize noise at night. Activities that could happen at night and after regular hours include excavating for bridge footings, pile driving, pile welding, placing reinforcing steel and forming and pouring concrete. The pile driving is the only thing the project team believes would be a nuisance noise, Kordosky said, so crews would attempt to have that done during the daytime if possible.

While the state is offering no incentives for early completion, there are disincentives if construction goes longer, Kordosky said. He did not tell the council what, exactly, those disincentives would be.

The city council approved the request, and suggested the project team contact the city if loud noises are expected after hours, so the city can notify the public on its website and Facebook page.