Fix-up keeps 15th Ave. closed

Branden Peterson

Construction on 15th Avenue Southeast, from Dinkytown to the Southeast Como neighborhoods, could keep the streets closed until the end of October.

City workers began construction in May, though the project had been planned for more than five years. Project engineer Beth Stiffler said the project should be completed by Halloween.

The $2.7 million project will be completed in two phases. The first is from Fifth Street Southeast to Rollins Street Southeast. That will be completed this year.

The second is from Rollins Street Southeast to Como Avenue Southeast, which will be completed in 2005.

Most of the first phase is complete, but the road will remain closed to traffic until workers are done.

“It’s safer to keep the (entire) road closed,” Stiffler said.

Some repairs have been complicated, because some road construction vehicles have difficulty working near the railroad bridge between Eighth and Rollins streets southeast.

Stiffler said the second phase of the project – repaving 15th Avenue Southeast, from Rollins Street Southeast to Como Avenue – will not begin until next year and should be less complicated.

The Minneapolis City Council approved the road reconstruction project last spring. It estimated it would cost $2.7 million.

Workers installed sewer lines this week, Stiffler said.

Because so many University students use the roads, the University helped pay approximately $200,000 for the reconstruction project.

Sue Weinberg, the University’s real estate director, said the University is also willing to help finance a $215,000 project to add lights along the street.

But, that project might not start until next year, and only if property owners along the street approve the measure.

While reconstruction continues, traffic is being rerouted to 10th Avenue Southeast.

Near many student homes, a lot of students pass through the road construction daily.

Though less traffic makes the area more peaceful outside his apartment, University graduate Michael Hrapsky said he will be happy when construction ends.

“During the week, they got the jackhammers going real early,” he said.

Meanwhile, people continued to bike or walk near the area Monday, cautiously sharing a tight, 3-foot-wide sidewalk while workers and loud machinery rumbled on the project.

Johnny Kryst, who lives near the repairs, said it seems like there’s more construction now than any time before.

“I thought it would be done by the time school started,” he said. “I’m kinda disappointed.”

But there’s not much people can do about it, he said.

“It’s a minor nuisance in the grand scale of things.”