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Summer road construction plans announced

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced its 2014 Construction projects for Greater Minnesota last week and Carlton County is getting a significant share of the state agency’s attention this construction season. The planned reconstruction of Highway 33 from Interstate 35 to the intersection of Big Lake Road and Doddridge Avenue ranks as one of the larger projects, coming in at $6.55 million.

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The project will include complete reconstruction of the pavement on Highway 33, plus changes to the intersection at the corner of Highway 33, Big Lake Road and Doddridge Avenue to improve traffic flow and pedestrian access. There will also be changes to the entrance to the SuperOne grocery store and changes in places drivers are allowed to turn across Highway 33 near the Armory.

While people traveling south on Highway 33 will still be able to turn left into the L&M Supply/movie theater entrance, northbound traffic will have to drive to a new turn lane at Armory Road to get to Pine Tree Plaza or Pine Valley recreation area (instead of turning at Brenny Dahl and driving through the Armory parking lot). As well, traffic exiting the Brenny-Dahl drive will only be allowed to turn right, although vehicles and semi-trailer trucks could access the northbound Highway 33 lanes by doing a U-turn at Washington Avenue (which would have a reinforced shoulder at that locations to allow semis to make the turn).

During construction, there will be single-lane traffic in each direction from May through October.

Other Carlton County projects include resurfacing of portions of Highway 73, including six miles in Cromwell ($903,664) and eight miles in Kettle River ($1.068 million), along with subgrade repair and culvert replacement ($518,635). A cable median barrier will be installed on I-35 from Cloquet to Duluth at a cost of nearly 1.8 million. MnDOT also plans to install cable median on I-35 from Highway 70 in Pine County to County Road 4 in Carlton County ($2.4 million).

In Scanlon, MnDOT plans to paint, resurface decks and approaches and repair guardrails on four bridges at a cost of $3.17 million. There will be intermittent single-lane closures as a result and some detours.