NEW ULM - The completion of work on the parking lot of the Menards store and the roundabout on U.S. Highway 14 to the west of New Ulm are slated for Sept. 17.
Highway 14 and the roundabout will be opened to the public when the work is completed. The Menards store will open in spring of 2013.
Menards, Inc. covered the cost of the roundabout while building its new store. Menards, Inc. hired I & S Group, a Mankato-based architectural firm, to do the store's exterior and also the roundabout.
The work on the U.S. Highway 14 roundabout (shown at the bottom of the photo west of New Ulm) and the exterior of the Menards store (the large white-roofed building at the top of the photo) is slated for completion by Sept. 17. Curb and grading work has been completed on the projects.
Roundabouts have been a major push by the Minnesota Department of Transportation in recent years. MnDOT has touted them as safer options because their design inherently prevents the more serious crashes. However, roundabout construction has also generated controversy among people who do not like the new road designs and truckers who find it difficult to navigate their semis through the curves.
I & S Group Civil Engineer Chuck Brandel said that the Highway 14 roundabout was explicitly designed to accommodate large vehicles like tractors and semi-trucks. He said the roundabout was also designed to work with the eventual expansion of the bordering portions of Highway 14 to four-lanes.
Grading work and curb and gutter construction have been completed. Paving on the roundabout and the Menards site starts this week.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at email@example.com)