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Construction at 42/52 interchange to begin April 3

This concept plan from Dakota County shows plans for expansions and safety improvements to the County Road 42 and Highway 52 interchange in Rosemount. Construction is set to begin the week of April 3. (Submitted photo)

Drivers who rely on getting on or off Highway 52 at County Road 42 in Rosemount can expect a difficult summer as a result of a construction project designed to increase road capacity and improve public safety at the interchange.

However, staff with Dakota County believe finishing the project in a single summer, rather than stretching over two years, will be in the best interest of residents and neighbors, even if it may mean more initial headaches.

As part of the reconstruction project, the Highway 52 bridge over County Road 42 will be replaced. Because it is a "three-span" bridge, there are columns that block sightlines on many of the ramps, said Jacob Rezac, project manager with Dakota County.

"The bridge is going to go to a two-span bridge, so we'll have a center pier in the median instead of the two piers on the side," said Rezac. "That really should open up the sight lines in all directions which we think will improve safety."

The interchange ramps will be reconstructed, and dedicated turn lanes will be added to the off-ramps.

The project will also extend the four-lane, divided section of County Road 42 under the Highway 52 bridge all the way to Conley Avenue.

A different construction process on the bridge is also the reason the project will be completed in one season.

Rezac said they originally planned a more traditional construction process, where half of the bridge would be completed at a time while traffic was routed on the remaining side. A team member suggested closing County Road 42 to allow the contractor access to both bridges at the same time, speeding up construction.

"The bridges really drive the entire schedule," said Rezac. "We took that plan to stakeholders ... I think it was nearly unanimous to just do it in one year."

Construction at the interchange is set to begin the week of April 3, but there won't initially be any impacts on traffic said Ben Herden, project manager with Ames Construction.

The first traffic impact is expected the week of April 10, when crews will close the southbound entrance ramp from County Road 42 in order to construct the bypass lane that will allow Highway 52 to remain open through the project.

The week of April 17, they expect to close the northbound exit ramp. The southbound exit ramp and the northbound entrance ramp are expected to be closed the week of April 24, Herden said.

During the first week of May, County Road 42 will be closed in order to begin work on the Highway 52 bridge. County Road 42 will remain closed through the remainder of the construction season.

"The only thing that will be constricted for basically the duration of the summer is through traffic along 42," said Herden."

For more information on the project and to sign up for project updates, visit www.co.dakota.mn.us/Transportation/CurrentConstruction/CR42/Pages/default.aspx.

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