Hwy 10 road construction crew members are implementing practices usually only seen in mid-winter to complete the last portion of road.
Shoveling and blowing snow, heating the ground, pouring the concrete then covering and heating it again. This was not how they planned to finish out this project, according to Landwehr Construction project manager Derek Burggraff. They've worked in these conditions before, but not in October.
"Never this early," Burggraff said. "We should have two to three weeks before this starts," Burgraff added about the inches that were piling on the project early Thursday morning. A couple inches had fallen over the weekend, a few more on Tuesday and by Thursday, there was an extra 4 inches before the work day began for many area residents -- with plenty more planned through the day.
"We were going to open around today (Thursday)," Burgraff continued. But mother nature wouldn't have it. A pour that would take a day in good weather, can take a week under the freezing and snowy conditions seen most of this week.
There isn't much left on Hwy 10 to the east and west of the Second Street intersection. Some more concrete and then striping is all it would take to open it up. And while they can heat the ground for the 7-inches of roadway, striping can't happen unless it rises above freezing. Burggraff is hopeful, with a warmup, they could finish by the end of next week or within two weeks.
"We'll be out there doing what mother nature lets us do," Burggraff said.
That’s in agreement with MnDOT project manager Kirk Allen who said Hwy 10 will likely remain closed until late next week, weather permitting.
“Mother nature needs to provide us a few warm, above freezing/dry days to complete concrete work and install final pavement markings,” according to MnDOT communications director Jenny Seelen.
“So, the current detour will remain in place until Hwy 10 is open," Seelen said in an email. "Our MnDOT snow plow fighters out of our Wadena truck station are maintaining the detour route.”
While Hwy 10 should be opening soon, the Second Street portion on either side of the railroad tracks is slightly stalled, according to Burggraff. He said an unexpected issue arose that involves drilling under the tracks, which requires working with BNSF to see the work complete. Temperatures can't get too low or that project will be stalled further.
Crews have been working on U.S. Hwy 10 through Wadena for the last two construction seasons. They began the removal of structures the year before that.