Construction on the pedestrian bridge spanning Highway 65 near the high school in Spring Lake Park is more than a month behind schedule.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation estimates that work will conclude in early October, weather permitting.
Work on the bridge began in early May and was initially scheduled to wrap up by Aug. 30, before school began.
“After the construction schedule was set, contractors encountered delays getting the needed materials to complete the project on time,” said Denise Workcuff, a MnDOT public affairs coordinator
In June, the ramp closed to pedestrians as workers replaced stairwells with ramps on either side of Highway 65 and began construction on the new bridge deck, complete with updated railings and beams.
When Aug. 30 came and went, MnDOT said the bridge would be done in mid-September, then early October, according to members of the Spring Lake Park City Council, some of whom were visibly upset at the Sept. 16 meeting about the construction delays.
“It’s our kids in the city that depend on that [bridge], and it’s very important that they get it done,” Councilmember Bob Nelson said. “If we can light a fire under somebody’s butt to get this expedited, it would be greatly appreciated, on my behalf anyway.”
City Administrator Dan Buchholtz said that MnDOT is charging the contractor daily fines to speed the project along.
“We want the pedestrian bridge to be opened as soon as possible, obviously, but we know that MnDOT is doing everything they can to facilitate the completion of the project,” he said in an interview after the meeting.
When asked for specific details about imposed fines, Workcuff gave the following response, “This project does provide incentives for completing the project on time, as well as disincentives for not completing the project on time.”
Olivia Koester is at firstname.lastname@example.org