WILLMAR — The first roundabout in Willmar, at the intersection of Kandiyohi County Roads 5 and 15 on the southwest edge of the city, is moving along and pretty much on schedule, with curb and gutter to be installed within the next few days.

The medians will follow by the end of next week, with pavement going in the week after, said Project Manager Jeff Evens of SEH.

The hope is to have everything completed by the start of next month.

"We're shooting for the first week of September to be substantially completed and the road opened," said Mel Odens, Kandiyohi County Public Works director.

Work began in the middle of June and Odens said construction has been going as expected, with nothing out of the ordinary taking place.

"Some of these things just take a little longer," Odens said.

Kandiyohi County Road 15 is also 19th Avenue Southwest in the city. The roundabout completion will be the last piece in the larger 19th Avenue Southwest project that tied up traffic on that side of town for several weeks. Traffic had been reduced to two lanes during the work.

With more than 12,700 vehicles using 19th Street Southwest daily, the project had a significant impact on day-to-day traffic in Willmar. Despite any concerns about traffic when construction began, Odens said there were no major traffic issues and the project was a success.

"It went really well. It's got a nice ride and we accomplished our goal," Odens said. "They were on time and on budget."

There were several parts to the project. Two inches of road surface was removed and replaced with two inches of brand new roadway. The traffic signal at 19th Avenue and 15th Street Southwest was upgraded, and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements were made at all the intersections. Rapid flashing beacons were installed at the crossing for Roosevelt Elementary School and also by the path going toward the Swansson Field Recreational Complex. The path, near 19th Avenue and 21st Street, was also extended.

"We extended the path for half of a mile," Odens said.

While the 19th Avenue work is nearing its end, County Road 5 will continue to see construction equipment. Following the completion of the first roundabout, work will begin on the roundabout that will mark the intersection of County Road 5 and the new U.S. Highway 12, which is part of the Willmar Wye railway and road project.

Highway 12 will be rerouted south of its current alignment, meaning the Highway 12 and County Road 5 intersection will also be moving farther south. Instead of a traditional signaled four-way intersection, the decision was made to build a roundabout.

Sean Christensen, Willmar Public Works director, said in an email to the Tribune that County Road 5 will be closed at the intersection of Highway 12 during construction. The current Highway 12 and County Road 5 intersection, as well as intersections of Trott and Willmar Avenues along County Road 5 will remain open, providing access into the Willmar Industrial Park.

The Willmar Wye road construction began the week of July 8. According to an update on the Minnesota Department of Transportation website, grading of the new Highway 12 alignment has begun, as well as removing pavement and grading on state Highway 40. The road portion of the project is scheduled to be completed in fall 2021.