Downtown Brainerd South 6th Street Construction Officially Completed
Motorists traveling in Downtown Brained this past year probably noticed a major construction project underway on South 6th Street and Business Highway 371. Today, people gathered to celebrate the opening of the new and improved roadway.
South 6th Street/Business Highway 371 through downtown underwent a major reconstruction project that started around a year ago and officially opened to traffic this week.
“It’s one of the biggest projects Brainerd’s ever seen. To reconstruct a highway such as this through downtown, and I think everyone is just happy to see vehicles traveling down it again,” said Paul Sandy, Brainerd City Engineer. “It’s been shut down for a long time.”
“As you can see, there’s a lot of traffic on it already, and it’s great to see that positive thing,” said Brainerd City Mayor Ed Menk.
The $5.7 million project aimed to improve the traffic and safety for motorists as they travel into Downtown Brainerd.
“It really looked at the main artery into Downtown Brainerd, Business 371 or South 6th Street, and really, the main commercial roadway into Brainerd, improving all the traffic and really ushering in a new area for downtown,” explained Brainerd Lakes Chamber President Matt Kilian.
The project added a smoother road surface, improved underground utilities, and updated signal systems and road signs. Along with the improved roadway, the construction project replaced the sidewalks, ensuring that there is a safe entryway to all the downtown businesses along the road.
“This was a total reconstruction project. We initiated the project back in 2012 and we’ve worked through design and environmental permitting and things, and this summer we saw the construction,” explained Sandy. “New water, new sewer, new storm sewer, new sidewalk surfacing, signals, lighting, the whole works.”
Though the project was long, the reconstruction will significantly lengthen the life of the roadway.
“When you’re driving up from the south, you do have two different routes that you can take. You can take 371 through Baxter or you can take Business 371 through historic Brainerd, and now those routes are improved. There’s more lanes. It’s just a better overall experience not only for our residents, but for the tourism community as well,” added Kilian.
MnDOT asks motorists driving down the completed roadway to use caution and watch for crews as the road work wraps up during the upcoming weeks.