TH 23 North Gap
TH 23 is an important corridor that is the primary east-west route that connects Willmar to I-94. The TH 23 North Gap project is currently under construction, and is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2023. The 9-mile, $41.75 million project is taking place from County Road 33 in Paynesville to Highway 22 in Richmond. The project will convert the current two-lane configuration to four lanes. Additionally, 4 box culverts will be replaced in the corridor along with mass grading, bituminous paving, lighting, stream realignment and revetment, and the construction of 17 permanent stormwater basins.
PE Services was selected by MnDOT as the Environmental Management Contract Administrator. As part of this work, PES assists MnDOT with the Environmental Compliance for the project. This includes attending weekly construction meetings, performing routine NPDES inspections with the contractor, requesting, reviewing, and approving Environmental Site Management Plans, coordination with regulators, and managing the Project’s Environmental Green Sheets. In addition to these routine duties, PES assisted MnDOT’s Office of Environmental Stewardship with the coordination of a training session with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on the Project. Approximately 20 regulators with the MPCA attended the training session, toured the Project, learned about common construction practices, potential environmental risks, and mitigation measures utilized to reduce these environmental risks.
A large environmental undertaking of the project included the realignment and native revetment of a portion of Kolling Creek. Prior to this work, the contractor developed a temporary stream bypass plan which was approved by MnDOT. PE Services was tasked with reviewing the bypass setup in the field for acceptance; this allowed for construction to take place outside of live stream conditions to reduce the potential for environmental risk. Once bypassed, PES observed the construction of the native revetment. The new creek alignment was excavated to its new meandering alignment; riffles were then placed utilizing rip rap. Cedar tree revetments, Rosgen toe woods, fabric encapsulated soil lifts, live wattle bundles, live stakes, and native seed mixes were then installed to stabilize the stream banks and flood plain while also providing habitat for fish and wildlife. Work in this area will be completed during the 2023 construction season, when the new box culvert, critter crossing, and DNR fencing are installed.