McGregor construction still on track despite temporary suspension of work

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Work resumed on McGregor’s Main Street construction project May 15, after a roughly three-week shutdown due to flooding and high ground water levels. Despite the stoppage, the project is still on track. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


McGregor’s Main Street construction project is still on track despite a temporary suspension of work due to flooding, said project engineer Alex Jaromin with Davy Engineering.


Jaromin, speaking at the May 17 McGregor City Council meeting, said work suspension began April 21, although contractor Portzen Construction then assisted city staff with flood control measures near the railroad tracks. Work resumed May 15, after water levels receded and the ground water was at a controllable level. 


Portzen picked up where it left off in April—installing water main down to the Front Street alley near Kwik Star. Jaromin said the rest of last week included installing storm sewer on that north extent, to get out of a 50-foot offset from the railroad tracks. 


There was a planned water shut off May 23, so Portzen could connect the new water main to the well. After this connection, the new water main will be filled, pressure tested and sampled.


According to an update from the city of McGregor, the remainder of this week involved sanitary sewer installation to the south of the Front Street alley. At that time, the contractor will start to move temporary fencing south toward A Street to close off the construction boundary. Water and sanitary service work will begin north of the Front Street alley at some point next week. Property owners will be notified in advance of when their services will be installed.


“Service work will carry us into the end of May and beginning couple weeks of June,” Jaromin said.


“Even with the shutdown,” he added, “things are looking pretty good. Nothing is really pushed back dramatically. If anything, [Portzen has] gotten into a groove and figured out a system on this project.”


That’s good news, said mayor Lyle Troester, considering the project’s early proximity to the railroad tracks has also cost the contractor a combined four days of work.


For safety measures, Troester explained a flagman at the construction site would communicate via radio with a contact miles away, stopping work when trains were as many as 10 miles out.


“Then, when the train went through, they could start again,” Troester stated. “On one 11-hour workday, they had to stop work seven hours.”


One flagman costs $1,400 per day, an expense the city incurs, the mayor said.


In the past week, two flagmen were utilized, which Troester said made the process smoother and limited the length of work interruptions. However, it cost the city twice as much. Last Friday, though, was anticipated to be the last day a flagman was needed.

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