As we transition into winter with a Winter Weather Advisory posted for Tuesday night, November 5, many would hope the road construction season would end. At the same time, scores of people are excited for the work to get underway on the Highway 14 expansion project between Owatonna and Dodge Center.

Groundbreaking occurred Friday, November 1 on the project with actual construction to begin next spring and completion expected in 2022. The 108-million-dollar project will complete a four-lane, divided highway stretching from Rochester to Mankato. Shafer Contracting was awarded the contract for the 13-mile segment which will be built south of the current highway. Funding came from the Corridors of Commerce program.

In other road work updates, the Steele County Highway Department announces the beginning of pavement marking work on Oak Avenue from Coolidge Street to Rose Street. The road will remain open, but drivers should watch for some lane closures.

When the lane marking is done the road will a single lane in each direction with a turning lane in the middle. The department also indicates that repair work on southbound Oak from Bridge Street to Vine Street has wrapped up.

The highway department also announces a public hearing on the 2020-2024 Highway Capital Improvement Plan on Tuesday, November 12 at 5:15 pm at the Steele County Administration Center at 630 Florence Avenue in Owatonna. One of the proposed improvements is to create a mini roundabout at 26th Street NW and County Road 45. In the document, the justification for the project states, "The temporary signals installed in 2016 have required significant maintenance costs due to damage by wind storms and oversize vehicles."

There is further consideration, "This project is intended to replace the temporary signal and meet current needs while minimizing the costs with long term future reconstruction of the intersection anticipated." To read the full notes on this project, go to page 28 on the improvement plan.

Also read: Do you know what the difference is between a Winter Weather Watch and a warning and just what is a Snow Squall Warning?