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Terry Ward column: Sore feet are feeling little soggy, too

Terry Ward is the Minnesota Department of Transportation construction project manager for the Red Wing Bridge project. He can be reached at 507-421-5318 or terry.ward@state.mn.us.

The Red Wing bridge project team has sore feet.

I'm not making any excuses, actually there are no excuses. But inevitably on every major bridge project I've worked on there is at least once when project team members stub their toes during the multi-year construction phase and has to re-group.

This past week, we stubbed a couple of toes.

First of all, I want to apologize to the Red Wing business community and specifically to Red Wing Shoe and Knudsen Caramels. They both ended up with water in their buildings due to work associated with our bridge project. Not something anyone on our team is proud of.

All I can promise them and you is that we will ensure their facilities are properly restored and they are compensated for their losses, along with a commitment from our team that we will do better as we continue moving forward.

We also have high water again on the Mississippi River at the project site, so we have moved out of the river navigational channel until the river crests and drops back down. We have one of the four drilled shafts completed for Pier 2 and will start on our second shaft once we are allowed back in the river.

We were scheduled to set concrete bridge beams on the Wisconsin spans next week, but again, we will need to monitor the river elevation to see if we can accomplish this task.

In Red Wing, we are actively working on underground utility work, retaining walls and the two new bridges, one over highway 61 and one serving the Red Wing Shoe's parking lot off Bluff Street.

So far, we continue to be on schedule and on budget.

This $63.4 million project is a strong partnership that includes the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the city of Red Wing, the Federal Highway Administration and our contractor, Zenith Tech, Inc.

As part of team's efforts, you will see Jay Owens and myself at various community events or on a bridge tour. We've been presenting information about the project to civic groups and we'd be happy to visit with your group or provide your organization or business with the necessary information about the project so you can keep your employees informed. We've found that if you know more about the project, you can help others understand it and minimize any possible disruptions it might cause. We do regular updates on the Community Access Channel 6, so you can catch us there as we provide updates and field questions.

Thank you all again for your patience during this project. We have a lot of good information that can help explain the project. You can learn more about the project or sign up for email updates by going to MnDOT's project web site www.dot.state.mn.us/d6/projects/redwing-bridge/ or you can follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RedWingBridgeProject/.

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