Highway 12 detour brings commuters to Long Lake

By Adam Quandt
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With road construction comes detours, increased traffic and longer travel times. However, not everything about the recent closure and detour of U.S. Highway 12 is bad.

Businesses along the detour route in Long Lake are taking full advantage of the increased traffic that the road construction is bringing through their town.

“We’re trying to put a positive spin on the project,” Long Lake Area Chamber of Commerce president Christy Erickson said.

Erickson’s family also owns the Orono Station located along the Highway 12 construction detour on Wayzata Boulevard in Long Lake.

The chamber rolled out the Long Lake “HOT SPOTS” project to collectively brand local businesses throughout the construction on Highway 12, which is expected to last three weeks.

Many of these local “HOT SPOTS” are offering special promotions and deals to those travelling through Long Lake due to the detour.

“It’s a great way to show people that this is a great place to spend some time in,” Erickson said.

Erickson’s Orono station is offering deals on ice cream as well as other items throughout construction.

“I know it doesn’t sound like the time of year for ice cream, but sometimes right after work it’s just the perfect snack,” Erickson said.

Erickson said that the Orono Station and many other local businesses have already seen a positive impact due to the increased traffic coming through Long Lake.

When Highway 12 was created it routed most traffic around Long Lake causing many local businesses to suffer or even close down.

However, the combination of the public push to shop local and the detour traffic are causing businesses in Long Lake to boom once again, according to Erickson.

“We welcome people to see our new businesses,” Erickson said. “There’s all kinds of new things that weren’t here when people regularly drove this route before the highway.”

The local shops around Long Lake are aiming to give people a positive feeling when going through town while on the detour, rather than simply dreading the traffic.

“Other than the traffic, it’s a win, win for travelers and the local businesses,” Erickson said.