Como Avenue Southeast roadwork to begin Monday

The reconstructionof Como Avenue Southeast will include a bike lane.

by Jason Juno

Will Ritter usually bikes to the University along Como Avenue Southeast, often bicycling around parked cars in tight quarters on the right side of the road.

Ritter, a third-year pharmacy student, said a bike lane would provide him with more space to safely ride his bike.

Ritter might get his wish when Minneapolis reconstructs Como Avenue Southeast, adding a bike lane between 24th and 33rd avenues southeast. The construction will begin Monday and last until after school starts in fall.

This summer, the city will also repair the portion of 15th Avenue Southeast that goes from Rollins Avenue Southeast to Como Avenue Southeast.

The Como Avenue Southeast project will be done in phases, said Jenifer Loritz, project engineer for Minneapolis.

The section of the street between 27th and 29th avenues southeast will close first. Detours will be posted Tuesday, she said. Metro Transit buses must also use the detours, she said.

A bike lane will be added in each direction from 22nd to 33rd avenues southeast as part of the project, but the 22nd-to-24th-avenue-southeast portion of the project will not be done until 2006, Loritz said.

Numerous University buildings are located in the Como Avenue Southeast area, and students live in the area as well, said Mary Sienko, marketing manager for Parking and Transportation Services.

For the first part of the project, traffic will be detoured along 18th Avenue Southeast, to Hennepin Avenue East, to 29th Avenue Southeast, Loritz said. But Eustis Avenue in Lauderdale will be used instead of 29th Avenue Southeast later on in the project, she said.

Pedestrians will still be able to walk on Como Avenue Southeast, but the sidewalks will eventually be torn up later in the summer, she said. Bicycling along the roadway is not recommended during the project, Loritz said.

Como Avenue Southeast carries from 7,400-8,300 cars per day, depending upon the stretch of road, she said. It is being redone because it has “deteriorated past the point of maintenance,” Loritz said.

The 15th Avenue Southeast project will not take as long as the Como Avenue Southeast project. It will run from mid-May to approximately the middle of July, Sienko said. While the 15th Avenue Southeast section to be repaired does not run through campus, it is a major road to campus, she said.

Traffic on 15th Avenue Southeast will be detoured to Eighth Street Southeast, 10th Avenue Southeast and Como Avenue Southeast, according to the city’s Web site.

The 15th Avenue Southeast project is already complete from Fifth Street Southeast to Rollins Avenue Southeast, according to the city’s Web site. This project was a street reconstruction, whereas the Como Avenue Southeast project is a total reconstruction that will include replacement of a gas main.

Sienko said there are no other road projects in and around campus she is aware of.