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Despite potential archeological findings and snow, roadwork continues

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Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Forward planning is paying off for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Potential archeological findings recently were uncovered during roadwork and utility improvements along Bemidji Avenue North, according to Todd Vonasek, resident engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

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But, MnDOT had planned for such a possibility and earlier had retained an archeological consultant, who was on site when the items were recovered.

Thanks to strong support from Bemidji State University, it was quickly determined that the items recovered were not human remains, Vonasek said during the weekly public meeting on the roadwork Thursday morning at Bemidji City Hall.

"It was a good investment to retain experts and have consultants on site," he said, noting that work was able to continue throughout the process.

What did stop work last week, however, was the unexpected snowfall.

The 12-plus inches that hit the area Friday and Saturday last week brought roadwork to a standstill.

"We lost a little time with the snow; we weren't able to work Saturday," said Andy Wagner, the project manager with Ulland Bros.,

Vonasek thanked Andy Mack, the city's public works director, for his help and the assistance of those in his department throughout the snowstorm.

"I appreciate what you did," he said.

Another problem associated with the weather was that the temporary water system experienced frozen water which needed to be addressed, Vonasek said.

Wagner said that despite the work stoppage last weekend, crews are on schedule, and in some cases, running a bit ahead.

The first sanitary sewer crew has completed its work in the first phase of the project (through Eighth Street) and has moved to the 1700 block of Bemidji Avenue. The second sanitary crew is expected to finish through the 900 block by the end of next week.

The water crew is working through the 800 block this week and is expected to get through the 900 block by the end of next week.

The storm water crew was projected to be working through the 500 block throughout this week, but Wagner said it already has moved on.

"They've exceeded where we expect them to be," he said.

Several people who attended Thursday morning's meeting applauded Ulland Bros. and MnDOT for the work done thus far.

"So far, I can't believe it's going this smoothly," said Harry Settle with the Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation.

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