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Nov. 6, 2020

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MnDOT announces multi-project construction complete in Thief River Falls

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced today the completion of multiple projects in Thief River Falls. All projects will be open to traffic by the end of the day, November 6. 

Between MnDOT, Pennington County, City of Thief River Falls, and the Red Lake Watershed, there have been over 10 projects happening in the Thief River Falls and surrounding area this year. Although the projects didn’t all begin at once, they all had to work in coordination with each other in order to combine detours and lessen the overall impact on residents and motorists.

“We held weekly meetings”, said Andrea Weleski, MnDOT project manager. “And since we met virtually, we were able to meet with the public each week too. The groups coordinated on these projects:

  • Hwy 1- Construct three roundabouts, frontage road and multi-use trail between Hwy 59 and Kinney Ave
  • Hwy 1- Replace culvert west of the intersection with Hwy 59
  • Hwy 1- Resurface between Hwy 219 and Pennington CR 18 east of Thief River Falls
  • Hwy 32- Construct roundabout at the intersection with Pennington CR 8 and CR 16
  • Hwy 32- Replace culvert south of Pennington CR 7
  • Hwy 32- Resurface between Thief River Falls and St. Hilaire
  • Hwy 32- Pedestrian improvements in St. Hilaire
  • Pennington CR 8/Mark Blvd- Connect road with the construction of a new bridge over the Red Lake River
  • Pennington CR 8/Mark Blvd- Construct roundabout at Pennington Ave S/Pennington CR 17 near Challenger Elementary
  • Westside Flood Damage Reduction Project- Construct a diversion channel and drainage infrastructure on the west side of Thief River Falls. Underground storm sewer will be installed along Barzen Ave and Greenwood St, along with a new sanitary sewer.
Mark Blvd. Bridge

Mark Blvd. Bridge

In a first of its kind for MnDOT District 2, project staff hosted a virtual open house that also included Pennington County, the City of Thief River Falls, and the Red Lake Watershed. Since the projects began back in May, MnDOT continued to host these meetings each week through October. Along with weekly meetings, the district also sent out a weekly update to email subscribers.

Mark Blvd. Bridge

Barzen roundabout

“We had a number of weather delays that pushed back elements of the project,” said MnDOT project manager, Andrea Weleski. “We made the decision to delay completion of that final roundabout, near the Petro Pumper intersection, until the spring. We understand the community has had multiple construction projects to navigate this summer and adding another in the spring isn’t ideal.” 

Challenger roundabout

Challenger roundabout

“A roundabout is not a project that we can stop halfway through and complete next summer. Once you begin a roundabout, you must see it through completion,” says Bill Pirkl, MnDOT Program Delivery. “In order to avoid a winter-long detour route, we paused construction on October 9 and we will pick it up again in the spring.” This intersection will remain an all-way stop throughout the winter and until the final roundabout is constructed in 2021. Motorists are advised to use caution as crews are installing permanent rumble strips.

The Highway 1 resurface project has completed for winter suspension and will also continue in the spring. When the project begins again, the overall traffic impact will be much lower as the preparation of this construction will be completed this fall.

Visit the MnDOT website to learn more about each of the projects at www.mndot.gov/d2/projects/2020/thief-river-falls or join the MnDOT northwest Minnesota Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/MnDOTnorthwest