The signs along Highways 4 and 14, announcing a detour starting on July 25, have been raising questions around town. How will I get to the businesses on Main Street? Never fear, there will be a way.

The signs along Highways 4 and 14, announcing a detour starting on July 25, have been raising questions around town. How will I get to the businesses on Main Street? Never fear, there will be a way.

On Tuesday morning MnDOT released this statement about the detours: “Highways 4 and 14 motorists can expect a detour in the city of Sleepy Eye beginning July 25 until mid-September for crews to work on city utilities.

The utility work will take place [mainly in intersections] between 9th Avenue SW to 7th Avenue NE on Highway 14. Motorists should use caution and follow the detour signs as they may change to accommodate the work sites and school schedules. All Sleepy Eye businesses will have access and remain open.

The city of Sleepy Eye project consists of utility upgrades in preparation for MnDOT’s project to resurface Highway 14 in town in 2018. MnDOT will be resurfacing Highway 14 east and west of Sleepy Eye in 2017 (pending funding) as well as Highway 4 north of Highway 68 in 2017.”

City Public Works Director, Bob Elston, said the first piece of work will be in the intersection of 1st Avenue and Main Street. “They’ll get that completed as quickly as possible,” said Elston. “As soon as the concrete is cured that intersection will be reopened.” Elston said he expects that intersection to be closed for a little over a week. “We will keep open either the 4 and 14 intersection or the 1st Avenue intersection at all times during the project to be sure that emergency vehicles can cross the tracks,” explained Elston.

Main Street traffic will be detoured to Walnut Street, except for a section on the east end of town that will move to Maple. Elston said there will be no parking allowed along the detour route. After the 1st Avenue intersection work is complete, traffic headed north on Highway 4 will be detoured to 1st Avenue and Elm Street NW.

As for access to Main Street businesses, Elston said that while access will be limited, it will be possible. “The situation will be fluid, we’ll tighten barricades when possible,” he said. “Local traffic can find a way.” Perhaps the least confusing area of detour will serve the area of the grocery store—while it may be a bit out of the way, traffic will simply be routed from Maple Street to 12th Avenue and then be allowed to proceed west on Highway 14.

While MnDOT stated the detour will be in place until mid-September, Elston said he doubts it will take that long. The actual estimate is four to five weeks, and the hope is maybe even less time.

When MnDOT comes through Sleepy Eye in 2018 to resurface Highway 14, the road will not be closed as they plan to complete one lane at a time. Elston explained that the resurfacing will be a mill and overlay project with asphalt layed over the milled concrete.