transportation roundup

Crosstown bids come in

The Minnesota Department of Transportation received two bids last month for the storied Interstate 35-W/Crosstown Commons reconstruction project, which is now set to begin in June.

The state didn't receive any bids last year when the department asked contractors to pay upfront costs for the project until the department could allocate money in its budget.

The apparent low bid of $288,306,281 came from Ames Construction, Lunda Construction and Shaffer Construction. Another bid of $316,117,000 came from McCrossan Construction and PCI Construction.

The bids were due March 30 and opened that day at Mn/DOT's headquarters in St. Paul. Staff now needs to examine the bids before awarding the contract, likely by early June, a spokesman said.

Previously, Mn/DOT engineers had estimated the project would cost about $285 million. It will reconstruct four miles of Interstate 35-W and two miles of Highway 62.

It's expected to take about four years to finish.

The project calls for adding lanes to eliminate forced weaving and improve safety. It will also add high-occupancy-vehicle, or HOV lanes for buses and carpools.

Mn/DOT officials said at last month's Armatage Neighborhood Association meeting they expect to keep traffic flowing except for some night and weekend closures. Officials detours will route traffic onto other highways, not neighborhood streets, they said.

Lake Street construction

One of the largest road construction projects in Hennepin County's history is underway again.

Work resumed last month on a $25-million Lake Street reconstruction effort. Activity was still focused on East Lake Street from 36th Avenue to West River Road.

Work is expected to begin later this month or early next month on a segment of West Lake Street in Southwest from Dupont Avenue east to Blaisdell Avenue, according to Hennepin County.

One lane of traffic will be open in each direction at all times during the construction. Major intersections will remain open, although some others will be close at times.

It's the first complete reconstruction of a major commercial corridor in south Minneapolis in 50 years.

By the end of 2008, Lake Street will have an entirely new roadway, sidewalks and streetscape between Dupont Avenue and the Mississippi River. It'll include new decorative lighting, bike racks, tree plantings, landscaping and signage.

Judge denies airport motion

Hennepin County Judge Stephen Aldrich has denied the Metropolitan Airports Commission's motion for a summary judgment in a case involving homeowners near the airport.

The ruling means a lawsuit from the homeowners can continue against the commission.

At issue is whether the airports commission scaled back a promise to insulate homes in the airport's runway paths from noise associated with flights.

A trial is scheduled to begin May 7 at the Hennepin County Government Center.

Reach Dan Haugen at 436-5088 or [email protected].