Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Drive down any major freeway around the metro and you’re bound to hit some type of road construction.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has dozens of projects underway in the Twin Cities, but this construction season is off to a slow start. The dreary weather is putting a damper on how often crews are able to get to work.
For 59 years the traffic of Highway 10 has been the background noise at Jeanne Breske’s Anoka home.
“It’s busy, very busy,” Breske said.
But it’s the recent silence that’s her biggest concern.
“It’s been very quiet,” Breske said. “But I think it’s the weather.”
Her home is along the 694 North Central Interchange project, one of MnDOT’s many seasonal construction projects.
The work is weather dependent, but rain has fallen 13 of the last 15 days.
“It’s pretty dead, let’s put it that way,” said Jack Welch, who owns Big Ten Supper Club along Highway 10.
That’s frustrating for business owners, like Welch, who are counting the days until traffic and business pick back up.
“They’re just not coming by anymore,” Welcome said. “It’s cut it way, way. way down.”
MnDOT officials said crews don’t work through rainy weather because it affects excavation work. Crews often need to do grating work and the wet soil makes it difficult to get the job done, correctly.
There are also safety concerns if it gets wet enough, said Kevin Gutknecht of MnDOT.
While much of May has been a wash, that doesn’t necessarily mean projects are behind schedule.
“Most projects, there are different things you can do that aren’t necessarily weather dependent,” Gutknecht said.
Contractors almost always build in time for weather delays.
“That contingency gives them the flexibility to say ‘Yeah, we’re still on schedule,’” Gutknecht said.
In Anoka, the only traffic will be on foot for the next several months, and that’s too quiet for those looking forward to the sounds of a busy road.
“They said it would be done by November,” Breske said.
While everything is on schedule now, MnDOT officials said if the rain continues on a daily basis into July, that’s when they would start pushing back the construction deadlines.
To stay updated on construction around your area just head to www.511mn.org.