New detour on Hwy.169 starts July 8
Jodi Summit

TOWER- With Tower’s Main Street mostly put back together again, area motorists will get some relief from summer road construction. That is, until major work begins on Highway 169 by the Black Bear Café corner.

Tower’s Main Street was scheduled to be open to traffic, once again, on Friday, June 21. Crews were filling in the cut-outs Wednesday and Thursday, and the detour was set to be dismantled in time for Friday traffic. The state will wait until later this summer to do the resurfacing of the street, allowing time for any settling to occur in the cut-out areas.

A new traffic detour is set to go into place on Monday, July 8, taking motorists east on Hwy. 26 (Wahlsten Rd.) then north on Hwy. 135 to reconnect with Hwy. 169 in Tower. The detour is expected to be in place until Aug. 14, at the latest.

The project is part of the “Thirteen Hills” reconstruction, which is moving over a mile of the actual roadway to eliminate curves and hills. The detour will allow work on the section of highway connecting the new roadway to the current alignment.

The project includes 1.5 miles of reconstruction, with an estimated price tag of $3.58 million. The project includes eight-foot wide shoulders, turning lanes, flattened hills, straighter curves, and improved ditching and drainage.

The detour will be an inconvenience for residents traveling from the Highway 77 area to Virginia, because they will have to travel to Tower to get routed back onto Hwy. 169 south. MnDOT project engineer Rob Ronning noted that construction is also underway on Hwy. 53 between Cook and Virginia, so the option of taking Hwy 1 west to Hwy. 53 south would also involve travelling through a construction zone.

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