Orange barrels on a highway
News Release
November 12, 2010




Minnesota Department of Transportation
Rochester District 6
2900 48th Street
Rochester, MN 55901


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Innovative repairs to Highway 61 slopes begin Nov. 15
Damages sustained during September 2010 floods


ROCHESTER, Minn. – Motorists will encounter single lane traffic or flaggers along Highway 61 near Dakota and north of Wabasha beginning Monday, Nov. 15, as crews repair the roadway slopes damaged during the Sept. 22-23 floods, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. 

“The slope damages are at particularly steep locations next to the road and crews cannot easily access the area,” explained Chris Dulian, MnDOT soils engineer. “We decided to again utilize a method MnDOT found effective after the 2007 floods.”

The method involves a backhoe that reaches over the guardrail to launch or drill nails into the slope. The launching repair method involves accelerating a 1.5-inch diameter, 20-foot-long steel pipe (nail) at 220 miles per hour into the soil of the roadway slope. This provides stabilization and prevents future erosion.

“Because rock is near the surface on some Highway 61 slopes, our plan is to drill soil nails near Dakota and launch soil nails north of Wabasha,” said Dulian.

This slope repair method was also used on Highways 14, 61 and 76 after the 2007 floods.

“The areas completed in 2007 show no signs of additional damage,” said Gary Lovelace, MnDOT construction engineer. “This method is a quick and cost-effective way to fix this type of slope damage.”

Soil Nail Launcher, Inc. is the prime contractor for the $600,000 repair project. The project is scheduled to be completed in early December, weather permitting. 

MnDOT urges motorists to always drive with caution, slow down in work zones and never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones.

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