By Adam Quandt
After much planning and preparation, a three-year road project is underway on CSAH 112 in Long Lake.
The first of three phases to update and repair the county highway began on April 12.
“Obviously it’s disruptive,” Mayor Marty Schneider said. “However, the preparation steps we took beginning over a year and a half ago helped prepare everybody for that disruption.”
The original construction design called for CSAH 112 to be narrowed down to one-lane traffic with a traffic controller at each end of the work zone. However, in the fall of 2015, the City of Long Lake paid a little over $100,000 to have changes made to the construction design, in order to maintain two-lane traffic at all times throughout the three-year project.
“I can’t imagine what it would be like with one-way traffic through town with just a signal person,” Schneider said. “In retrospect it was a very good decision that everyone asked for and I’m happy that the sitting council at that time chose to step up and spend the dollars to have that change done.”
Schneider has made a point to make himself and the city very involved with the county throughout the entire process, from planning to actual construction.
After the construction of the I-394 bypass project, many of the community members felt that the cities needs and what the county provided were at very different places.
In response, Schneider has worked tirelessly to make sure the county and city are engaged partners, rather than separate entities.
“The county is in tune with wanting to keep property values and business revenues up,” Schneider said. “So far, things have been very cooperative.”
Schneider speaks with county representatives for the project regularly to ensure everything is going smoothly. According to those talks with the county, the project is progressing according to schedule.
In further connection between the county and city, the county created a new position to ensure things move smoothly throughout the project.
County employee, Nick Kim is serving as the project’s communication liaison.
“Nick has been very engaged,” Schneider said. “All of the responses I’ve received from residents and business members are exceptionally happy with his responsiveness and solution finding.”
So far, the only hiccup the project has faced has been an accidental cutting of a communication cable on a Friday morning, which knocked out the majority of Long Lake’s internet and phone connections.
Schneider said that Internet and communications teams were working on a solution within hours of the incident and had communications back up within 24 hours.
Following the communications loss, project manager Paul Backer and Nick Kim went door-to-door around the community to make sure every knew what happened and why, and to update them on the repair process.
“I got a sense of the commitment of the county then,” Schneider said. “We weren’t going to be left to our own devices over a weekend and hope for the best.”
Schneider and county representatives will continue to hold regular information meetings throughout the construction process, as well as updates during regular Long Lake City Council meetings.