Roadwork continues near Dakota Middle School as school year approaches

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — The 65th Street project in Rochester is on track, but some fear it won’t be completed in time to allow traffic to flow smoothly near Rochester’s newest college.

“It will be nice when it’s done,” said Ann Hamilton.

Hamilton operates a day care center out of his house, a few houses on the west side of the 65th Street construction. She fears that if things don’t open up by the start of the school year, traffic will become difficult.

“It will do a lot of extra traffic because you have relatives who also have to file if it doesn’t open. Then you’ll get all that extra traffic. It will make it very interesting in the morning,” Hamilton said.

LOOK: Construction at Dakota Middle School via an on-site webcam.

It’s something Rochester’s deputy municipal engineer, Tyler Niemeyer, is also watching closely.

“It was a bit delayed,” he explained, citing supply chain issues and a rainy spring. Niemeyer assumes that the project is a few weeks late. The goal, he said, is to have gravel at the start of school.

“We have a lot of work to do until then, but we hope to at least have some gravel so that all vehicles can access the school,” Niemeyer said.

If this does not happen, the backup plan is to have the buses and parents pass through the east and west sides, not the middle part between the two entrances to the school. Niemeyer said the scope of the project is not small.

“This is a $16.4 million project. It’s almost as big as the Broadway reconstruction project that we’re finishing up this summer,” he said.

Most of the funding for the project comes from the state. Another element of the project is a tunnel under 65th Street. Eventually, when completed, it will serve as a gateway to college. Something Niemeyer said the Rochester Public Schools District has also invested in.

“By the time the whole project is finished, it will be very different,” he added.

Although it might be awkward now, Niemeyer said it had to be done.

“The best answer I have is that construction needs to happen for Rochester to move forward and continue on the path we are on. Let’s all work together to ease the pain as much as possible,” he said.

KTTC contacted Rochester Public Schools. The district said no final decisions on bus routes have yet been made. RPS said it’s taking things week by week and hopes to get more guidance and a better idea of ​​the status of the project after a meeting next week.

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