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Major Wadena roads reopen while another closes Tuesday

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Traffic began to flow through Wadena's main artery, Hwy 71, Tuesday, Aug. 25, as MnDOT reopened the intersection in the afternoon. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal
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Shortly after noon on Tuesday, Aug. 25, traffic resumed on Hwy 71 in Wadena with drivers trying out the new roadway through town.

While new roads are opening, others are closing. Road closure signs were removed from Hwy 71, First Street NW and County Road 4 and moved to Hwy 10. Motorists will encounter a full-closure and detour on Highway 10 in Wadena, as crews begin to reconstruct the final two-lane stretch between Highway 71 and Birch Avenue NW on Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Here’s what to expect if cruising Wadena:

  • Highway 10 is now closed to all traffic between First Street NW and Birch Avenue NW, at the Wadena County fairgrounds. Follow a signed detour along Highway 71 Wadena, Highway 29 and Otter Tail County Road 75, east of Bluffton. Local business traffic can return to Birch Ave. and go through the fairgrounds to access businesses between the detour.

The detour adds one mile to trip. Motorists will encounter:

  • Stops or delays, especially at peak travel times, or when a train goes through the area.
  • A temporary traffic signal system at the intersection of Highway 29 and County Road 75.
  • A temporary all-way stop at the intersection of Highway 10 and County Road 75.
  • Highway 10 will be open to local traffic between County Road 75 and Birch Avenue NW; however it will be closed to all traffic between Birch Avenue NW and First Street W.
  • Second Street W access to close and detour at Highway 10 to reconstruct the intersection and railroad crossing. Follow detour signs to Highway 71 to access Highway 10.
  • Access to businesses and residences to be maintained and open, however expect changes and gravel surfaces. May include temporary entrances, side roads or back entrances. Follow signs.

"To add to this, traffic will substantially increase along that route (Hwy 29), because of the potato plant beginning their harvest with heavy trucks in September, and the start of school September 8th. There will be more traffic due to school as the buses are only allowed to operate at 50% capacity, therefore relying on more parents to drive their children into the school rather than use the bus if they can," Wadena Chief of Police Naomi Plautz said in a Wadena Police news release.
The traffic lights can be on timers, motion sensors or both, according to the release. If there is a problem, the lights will default to flashing red. The traffic lights are set near the side of the road where traffic does travel under them, according to Plautz.

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MnDOT will monitor traffic and adjust signal timing as needed along the detour. Motorists are asked to be patient and add some extra time to your commute, while everyone adjusts to the detour.

When complete in October 2020, the $12.4 million project will provide the community of Wadena with a new, smoother concrete road surface, widened shoulders, improved motorist and pedestrian safety and access, and updated city utilities.

For more details, visit the Highway 10 project at www.mndot.gov/d3/wadena or contact Kirk Allen, project manager, at kirk.allen@state.mn.us or 218-828-573. For updated road condition information, call 511 or visit 511mn.org .

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