Northbound I-35 Straight River Rest Area closure planned March 15 for bridge demolition, detour
OWATONNA, Minn. – The Straight River Rest Area on northbound Interstate 35 south of Owatonna will close at noon on March 15 in preparation for a nearby overnight bridge demolition that will detour traffic until 8 a.m., March 16, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Crews will be demolishing the Steele County Road 18 bridge over I-35 for two nights. On March 14, southbound I-35 traffic will be detoured from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m..
It’s during the northbound I-35 closure and detour that the rest area will be closed. The rest area closure begins at noon on March 15 to ensure all traffic is gone before the demolition work that begins at 8 p.m.
I-35 southbound will close March 14 from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and I-35 northbound will close March 15 from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Each night construction crews will remove the portion of the bridge over the highway and remove debris in time for traffic to resume at 8 a.m.
During that time, traffic will be detoured off I-35.
The southbound I-35 detour is Highway 14 east to Steele County Road 45 south to Highway 30 west to I-35. The northbound detour route is in reverse: I-35 Exit 26 to Highway 30 east to Steele County Road 45 north to Highway 14 west where it rejoins I-35 at Owatonna.
The westbound and eastbound exits on Highway 14 at Steele County Road 45 will be closed from 8 p.m. on March 15 until 8 a.m., March 16 during the northbound I-35 detour. The exits will be open during the southbound detour on March 14.
The demolition of the Steele County Road 18 bridge over I-35 south of Owatonna will prompt the bridge’s closure to traffic beginning March 12.
This bridge replacement is being included into the project south of Owatonna where 10 bridges are being replaced over two years on I-35 (six bridges) and Hwy 14 (four bridges). Last year, a vehicle carrying construction equipment struck two bridges over I-35. The damage to the bridges, which were built in 1965, was such that MnDOT determined through an a review of life cycle, cost analysis and funding availability that replacement would be best now with the timing of the other bridges. This is the second year of the two-year project.
Lunda Construction Company is the prime contractor for the $29.6 million project.
Motorists interested in more information about the project, may visit the MnDOT project website at www.dot.state.mn.us/d6/projects/steelecty-bridge/index.html and sign up for email updates on the project.
Motorists should always be attentive, drive with caution, slow down in work zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones. For real-time traffic information in Minnesota, call 511 or visit www.511mn.org.