Intersection reconstruction gets underway
Work begins this week on a partial reconstruction of the Hwy. 64/Pine Ridge Avenue intersection to accommodate traffic increases anticipated with the new Walmart super center.
The city of Merrill is undertaking the intersection reconstruction with project management from Becher Hoppe. Contactors on the project are MICCO and Merrill Gravel.
At a public information meeting last Wednesday, project planners presented a detailed timeline for the construction, which is slated for completion by Oct. 25.
Project leader Mark Pertile of Becher Hoppe said the plan is to maintain access to businesses at all times.
“We’re going to try to accommodate traffic and keep it moving as smoothly as possible,” Pertile said.
The whole intersection will be milled this week as the project gets underway. Temporary signals have been installed and the existing signals will be removed.
The project will be completed in four phases.
Phase 1, set to start Sept. 3 and be completed by Sept. 25, includes improvements to the turning movements at the northeast, southeast and southwest corners of the intersection.
There will be minimal changes to the north side of the intersection. No width will be added to the existing roadway on North Pine Ridge Avenue. The curb radius at the McDonald’s corner will be cut back to make it easier for large trucks to make the turn onto Pine Ridge Avenue.
“The curb is being pulled back to make that maneuver easier for large trucks,” said Becher Hoppe project engineer Marijean Hoppe.
Phase 2, set to run from Sept. 26 to Oct. 8, will further address improvements to the southeast corner of the intersection. At that corner, plans includes cutting into the hill on the Park City Credit Union property to make room for a dedicated right turn lane onto Hwy. 64. A five-foot retaining wall will be installed where the hillside is removed.
Phases 3 and 4 address the Hwy. 64 curb islands and median improvements on both sides of the intersection. On the west side of the intersection, a 370-foot long curb island will be developed to divide the east and west bound traffic on Hwy. 64. On the east side of the intersection, a 135-foot curb island will divide traffic. Each side of the intersection will have three lanes: dedicated left turn lanes, dedicated through lanes and an outside lane for going straight or turning right.
Pedestrian crossing will be included in the project at the north, south and east legs of the intersection. New sidewalk will be installed from the southwest corner of the intersection to Eagle Drive and from the intersection to the main Walmart entrance.
The project will include a 726-foot extension of South Pine Ridge Avenue, ending at a cul-de-sac.
Work hours for the project will be 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.