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Construction begins on Cloquet Avenue

Cloquet Avenue is getting some long overdue attention, starting this month. The main road through downtown Cloquet is expected to remain open to traffic, however, as the various sidewalk, street and light projects are completed.

The 2-mile long project, from Minnesota Highway 33 to the city's easterly boundary with Scanlon, will be completed in stages.

According to a letter from the city engineering department to adjacent businesses and property owners, Ulland Brothers were expected to begin work Tuesday, July 10, focusing on medians and the south side of Cloquet Avenue near Highway 33.

The concrete is being replaced to construct Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps and replace concrete pavers that have settled over the years. Additionally, bulb outs will be added at the intersections between Ninth and 13th streets to make the corridor more pedestrian friendly.

Assistant City Engineer John Anderson cautioned there will be times when work will obstruct direct access to businesses and make it difficult to park immediately in front of a destination. City staff will be working with the contractor to make sure these inconveniences are limited to as short a period as possible.

According to the city, traffic signals at 10th and 14th streets will be updated to include LED signal heads as well as ADA-compliant pedestrian push buttons. An overhead signal arm with signal heads will be added for northbound traffic on 14th Street. Dedicated right turn lanes will be marked for eastbound and north bound traffic at the intersection of 14th Street and Cloquet Avenue. Eastbound and westbound traffic along Cloquet Avenue will continue to have dedicated left-turn lanes, but with the addition of a left-only phase and flashing left yellow arrows at both 10th and 14th streets.

Street lighting will be updated to include decorative poles and energy efficient lighting fixtures similar to those installed on Broadway Street earlier this year. Light poles will mostly be placed in the same location as the current poles, unless adjusted in their location as needed to accommodate new pedestrian ramps. Signage along the corridor will be updated and wherever possible placed on light poles to minimize obstacles for snow removal.

Once the concrete work is complete, the paved surface will be milled and repaved with a new layer of asphalt. The pavement will be striped to include the same number of lanes as currently exist for vehicle traffic and parking. However, by also narrowing the vehicle lanes, bike lanes will be marked in both directions from Highway 33 to the eastern city limit.

Landscaping will be finished as a separate project once the work is complete.

The project is expected to be completed by early October, weather permitting.