The City of Montevideo's 2020 Street Improvement Project, the reconstruction of 1st St. West, is reaching its conclusion. Last Monday, crews began laying down the first layer of asphalt, with subsequent layers put down Tuesday and Wednesday.

The City of Montevideo’s 2020 Street Improvement Project, the reconstruction of 1st St. West, is reaching its conclusion. Last Monday, crews began laying down the first layer of asphalt, with subsequent layers put down Tuesday and Wednesday.

Montevideo City Manager Robert Wolfington said: “First Street West should be open to traffic by the end of this week. Crews have been hard at work getting the paving completed this week and getting the manholes properly set.”

Completion of the project signals the end of a process that began two decades ago. “Around the year 2000, the City of Montevideo completed a downtown project that converted First Street into a two-way drive,” said Wolfington.

For many, many years prior to 2000, First Street and First Street West were one-way drives. Wolfington said: “Once Main Street was converted into a two-way street, there was no longer a need for First Street West to be a one-way.”

Crow River Construction out of New London was the primary contractor, and A.G. Amundson Construction out of Benson did the concrete work, and Central Specialties of Alexandria did the paving. Wolfington was pleased with the progress of the project over the course of the summer. He said: “All projects have their bumps, but overall this project has gone well and our contractors did a great job. We anticipated primary completion by October, and the project stayed on track.”

While it may seem that the back alley area behind Main Street was closed for a long time, construction work actually began in early July. “The grant was applied for in early 2019, and plans were drawn up shortly after,” said Wolfington. “We were fortunate to receive the grant dollars for the project, and it provided us the opportunity to do other improvements for utilities.”

The city received a $1 million grant for the project from MnDOT. “This created an opportunity to also upgrade utility service lines under First Street West, which had not been improved in decades. New water and sewer lines were installed while the street was reconstructed,” Wolfington said. “Hopefully, this will limit future utility issues in that part of town.”

Perhaps the biggest change, outside of the project itself, is that First Street West has been widened to allow for two-way traffic. “Signs are on their way for First Street West. Once they arrive, we’ll get them installed and the new traffic flow will be easy to follow,” said Wolfington. “Striping will be done after paving is complete.”

Navigating First Street West as a two-way street may take some getting used to for longtime residents, but at least the work is completed, and it will once again be easy to drive behind Main.

The total cost of the project was $1,892,959.75.