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Construction to wrap up for season

As the weather cools down, the construction season is beginning to wind down in preparation for winter. In the Roberts area, the roundabouts on State Highway 65 should be finished within the next month, according to Chris Ouellette, northwest regional communications manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

"We are anticipating that all the roundabouts will be completed by Nov. 7," Ouellette said.

However, the exchange between Interstate 94 and Highway 65 in Roberts is a two-year project, Ouellette said.

She said construction work should continue about another month, close down for the winter, and be re-started in spring.

She said the roadway on I-94 and Highway 65 will not change much before construction wraps up.

"Basically what the drivers see right now in that area is really much how it'll be over the winter," she said.

Ouellette said the road itself will look much the same as it does now. The only difference will be the absence of the construction equipment, which will be removed when it starts to get snowy.

"They'll work until snow does fly," Ouellette said. "As far as traffic is it is configured now is how it will remain over the winter months."

Ouellette said drivers should be able to safely navigate the construction zones during the winter with no more than the usual amount of extra caution generally given to winter driving.

A set of stoplights have been installed near the I-94 and Highway 65 exchange, Ouellette said these should be operational by Friday, Oct. 19.

The St. Croix County Highway Department has also been making winter preparations. Highway Commissioner Tim Ramberg said the highway department is now putting in culverts on roads the department plans to do construction on next year. Ramberg said it helps to get culverts in place the year before roads construction begins as it allows the ground around them to settle over the winter before construction begins in spring.

Construction on County Road Z has been completed and Ramberg said one mile of County Road N will be paved before the construction season closes for the year.

Ramberg said the department is also preparing their winter maintenance vehicles for the season.

"We want to make sure they work properly," Ramberg said, "so they'll function properly for us when we need them."

He said the highway department is also preparing sand and salt for winter. The department will start putting up snow fence in November.

They are also working on mowing the right-of-way more than it has already been mowed. This, Ramberg said, should help keep snow off the roads in the winter.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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