Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I-35 Mega Project - A Business Perspective
Work on the Interstate 35 (I-35) Duluth Mega Project restarted Monday, April 4. Take heart...the majority of the construction work was completed last year. $40 million of the Mega Project's $68 million has been expended. Hopefully, your patience is far from expended. Your continuing patience will be appreciated because work remains to be done. The majority of the remaining $28 million in construction will be completed in 2011. Work will occur from April to October.
The Mega Project entails pavement replacement, bridge repair and bridge replacement from Boundary Avenue, located at the top of Thompson Hill, all the way to 26th Avenue East. The overriding goal of the project is to increase safety and reduce maintenance.
Businesses play a dual role in this Mega Project. First, as citizens impacted by the road work. Second, working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MN/DOT) to keep our customers coming and minimizing inconvenience for our customers. Area businesses and MN/DOT have truly been "in this together" as we prepared for the project prior to 2010. We continue to work together as we prepare for another year of road construction.
Working cooperatively as a group has been productive. Together, the business community has accomplished more than individual businesses could have accomplished. We are combining resources for the maximum benefit. Specifically, the Greater Downtown Council, the Canal Park Business Association, the Lincoln Park Business Group, Visit Duluth and the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce are working well together to prepare businesses for another season of road construction. The Chamber's leadership is pleased and proud to partner in this noble effort.
Two weeks ago, this unprecedented partnership hosted an information session wherein business owners and operators were provided an overview of the upcoming Mega Project work by Roberta Dwyer, 1-35 Duluth Mega Project Manager at MN/DOT. Sixty members of the business community attended the session. Attendees affirmed Roberta Dwyer's assessment that the Mega Project work completed last year was accomplished with less inconvenience than anticipated by travelers and the business community. The partnership is working hard to ensure that Project work in 2011 is, likewise, less onerous than originally anticipated.
Our Emerald City on the Hill will benefit for many years from the work being completed within the Mega Project. Our brothers and sisters in the building trades will enjoy another year of employment as they bring their talent and hard work to the Project. $68 million in federal and state funding is being invested in the gateway to our Shining City, located on the Greatest of the Great Lakes. Travel in and out of our beloved community will occur on safer, more attractive and more comfortable roads.
As we make our way through another year of road construction, we will do well to recognize how the Mega Project will result in mega progress for those of us who choose to reside and work in this uniquely beautiful city.
posted by David Ross