Road construction season in full swing

City crews updating 50 miles of roadways this year

(From left) City Council Members Linea Palmisano and Kevin Reich along with Mike Kennedy and Heidi Hamilton of Public Works update reporters on summer construction projects. Credit: Photo by Sarah McKenzie

Nearly 50 miles of city streets will be reconstructed or repaired this summer as part of the 2014 construction season.

A couple of the major road reconstruction projects include Penn Avenue South, from West 50th to 54th streets, and streets on the western end of Riverside Avenue in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

City Council Member Kevin Reich (Ward 1), chair of the Transportation and Public Works Committee, and Council Member Linea Palmisano (Ward 13) briefed reporters on the construction work at a news conference Wednesday afternoon at 50th & Penn. They were joined by Public Works officials.

“Keeping on top of street maintenance not only makes driving better, it also makes economic sense,” Reich said. “Work like seal coating and resurfacing lets us get more years out of a driving surface, and the ability to cover a lot of miles. Plus, streets that end the year in better shape are less likely to need pothole repairs next season.” 

Palmisano said the Penn reconstruction project has been “sorely needed” for the neighborhood. She reminded people to support the neighborhood retailers and restaurants along the street as they cope with the construction.

“They need your business,” she said. “We’ll work to make them as accessible as possible.” 

The city has created a Facebook page on the Penn project to keep people in the loop. Reconstruction of Penn from West 50th to 54th is expected to be complete this fall.

Here are other highlights of the summer construction season: 

— A new onramp from downtown to northbound I-35W will be created at 4th Street South to help reduce congestion on Washington, which is the only downtown access point to northbound I-35W.

— About 30 miles of city streets will be resurfaced, which involves milling off a top layer of asphalt and creating a new smoother surface. Several high-volume streets and neighborhood streets will be resurfaced. (See map below). 

— About 19 miles of streets in fairly good condition will be seal coated.

— About 3 miles of parkways will be resurfaced and another 5.5 mile seal coated. 

— City crews will add 10 miles of bikeways, including completing the Dinkytown Greenway, which links the U of M area with downtown. 

— There will be sidewalk repairs throughout the city and new ramps installed to make them compliant with the American with Disabilities Act. 

To learn about traffic detours related to the construction projects, go to For more information about the projects, go to