Weather delays traffic changes for Hwy 14 south of Owatonna
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Wintry weather has again forced the postponement of the start of a detour for westbound Hwy 14 motorists who use the northbound Interstate 35 on-ramp south of Owatonna, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The ramp detour will be rescheduled for next week, but weather will dictate when the traffic switch occurs. When a date is selected, MnDOT will announce it. It’s one of several traffic changes taking place in the next few weeks as the project enters Year 2 to replace 12 bridges south of Owatonna on Hwy 14 and I-35. The changes are subject to the weather, so the starting date might be adjusted again if weather delays the necessary work to change traffic.
Westbound Hwy 14 motorists east of I-35 will be moved into the eastbound Hwy 14 lanes, so two-way traffic will flow in the eastbound lanes. Because of this traffic change, westbound Hwy 14 motorists who want to travel north on I-35 will need to detour through the interchange loops at I-35 by taking the southbound I-35 ramp to the eastbound Hwy 14 ramp to the northbound I-35 ramp. The detour will remain in place until the two Hwy 14 bridges are reopened to traffic in the fall.
Traffic on I-35 is expected to change to in late-April. Two-way traffic will be established in the southbound lanes, so workers can replace the bridges in the northbound lanes. The northbound Straight River Rest Area will close when traffic is switched, but the southbound Straight River Rest Area will be open for southbound traffic.
Motorists who use Steele County Road 18 to cross I-35 are reminded that the road is closed at the bridge. It is one of the bridges being replaced. They may detour around the crossing by using Hwy 14.
This bridge replacement project is in its second of two years south of Owatonna. Twelve bridges are being replaced over two years on I-35 (eight bridges) and Hwy 14 (four bridges). Bridges on southbound I-35 and eastbound Hwy 14 were replaced last year. Two bridges on I-35 that were damaged by a vehicle crash last year are included in the project, one was replaced last fall and the second is under construction this year.
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 mndot.gov/d6/projects/steelecty-bridge 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.