After more than five months of work, the reconstruction of Highway 169 in Blue Earth is completed to the point that it is able to be opened up to traffic again, according to information from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
The highway, which has been closed since June 18, was set to open late Friday afternoon, a few hours after this edition of the Faribault County Register went to press.
Most of the paving of the highway and the three roundabouts was completed, as was the painting of stripes, installation of signage and crews were finishing up installing new street lights on Thursday.
While the detour signs will come down and traffic will be able to use the highway, the project is not completely done, according to MnDOT.
Resurfacing of the highway on both the north and south ends of Blue Earth will be done next spring. There are also some sidewalks, approaches and other unfinished work that will be completed next year.
The project had a late start this year due to weather, contact negotiations and late bids. However, MnDOT has always stated the road would be open to traffic before winter.
"MnDOT and the contractor wish to thank the community of Blue Earth for their patience during this project," says a press release from Rebecca Arndt of MnDOT. "With the late start and significant set-backs, the reconstruction of Highway 169 in Blue Earth proved to be a major undertaking for all parties."
The contract was awarded to Ulland Brothers Construction at a bid of $9,486,231. Part of the cost of construction was covered by both Faribault County and the city of Blue Earth.
The city of Blue Earth and the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce are planning a ribbon cutting and celebration of the reopening of the highway called "Celebrating in a Roundabout Way."
The event is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. A reception will be held at the Public Safety Building after the ribbon cutting.
Watch for more details in next week's Register.