Thursday, May 29, 2014

ATV riders can explore Minnesota trails for free

Minnesotans with all-terrain vehicles registered for private or agricultural use won’t need to pay the additional registration fee ($53.50 for three years) to ride the state’s public ATV trails on Saturday, June 7, and Sunday, June 8. Out-of-state riders can explore Minnesota ATV trails that weekend as well, without the need for a nonresident trail pass ($21 annually).

This is the second year that Minnesota is providing ATV riders with free access to more than 3,000 miles of state forest and grant-in-aid (GIA) trails during “No Registration Weekend.”

“We see this weekend as a great opportunity to showcase the wide variety of state and grant-in-aid trails across Minnesota,” said Mary Straka, off-highway vehicle program coordinator. “There are a large number of privately registered ATVs across the state that, during this weekend, can give the public trails a try and ride for free.”

Some great places to start, according to Straka, include:
  • The Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area, a 1,200-acre OHV park in Gilbert with 36 miles of scenic trails for riders of all abilities.
  • The 100-mile trail system in Nemadji State Forest, which connects to the Matthew Lourey State Trail and the Gandy Dancer Trail for more riding opportunities.
  • The 29-mile Spider Lake trail system in Foot Hills State Forest, where riders will curve around lakes and ponds, go up and down a variety of hills, and view overlooks from the ridges throughout the forest.
These and other riding destinations are featured in a new 72-page Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Atlas. The atlas includes maps, descriptions, parking and other information for 51 state and GIA trails for ATVs, off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Contact the DNR Information Center at, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday to request free copy of the atlas. Trail maps are also available online at, as are updates on trail conditions.

For more information, contact Mary Straka at 218-833-8713 (Brainerd) or 651-259-5644 (St. Paul) or

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lane closures planned on I-94 May 28-29 near Alexandria, Barnesville

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Motorists traveling on Interstate 94 will encounter intermittent delays and lane closures Wednesday, May 28, west of Alexandria and Thursday, May 29, near Barnesville for work on the CapX2020 transmission line project.

Traffic will reduce to a single lane in each direction during daytime hours while crews work near the interstate.

Crews will use a helicopter to string power lines over the roadway. Minnesota State Patrol troopers will be on site to assist travelers through the work zone.

Motorists may be required to stop briefly. As they approach the work zone, drivers should slow down, be alert and keep traveling, unless directed by law enforcement.

Several additional I-94 wire crossings will occur between Alexandria and Barnesville this summer and fall.

For more information about the CapX2020 project, call 1-866-876-2869 or visit

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit or dial 5-1-1.

Resurfacing projects in Twin Valley, Thief River Falls areas begin May 28

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists on Highways 200/113 near Twin Valley and Highways 1/59 near Thief River Falls will encounter slowdowns and flaggers when a resurfacing project begins on Wednesday, May 28, weather permitting.

Work will occur along Highway 200 northwest of Twin Valley, Highway 113 south of Twin Valley, Highway 1 west of Thief River Falls, and Highway 59 north and south of Thief River Falls.

Crews will be doing microsurfacing, with flaggers present to maintain traffic flow. Short-term delays should be expected.

Astech is the prime contractor for this project. Work is expected to conclude by the end of June.

When the project is complete, motorists will notice a smoother, safer ride along these highways. This project helps ensure MnDOT’s transportation system will continue to serve the state for many years.

Drivers are urged to slow down in the work zones.

For statewide travel information, visit

Fargo Construction Information

FARGO, N.D. (May 26, 2014) – Beginning May 27 at 6 a.m.; crews will shift the work zone on 25th Street South in Fargo. Between 16th Avenue South and 25th Avenue South, northbound and southbound traffic will be head to head. Traffic will be traveling on the east side of the bridge. Existing traffic signals will be removed and temporary signals will be used in the project stretch. Left turn lanes will not be accessible throughout the work zone, and left turns from intersecting streets onto 25th Street will be restricted, with the exception of 18th Street South, I-94 ramps and 17th Avenue South.

Reconstruction of the west side of 25th Street South, the southwest loop and exit ramp, the northwest ramp and bridge widening of the west side will occur at this time. During this phase, crews will begin pavement removal on the west half of the roadway, the bridge and roadway will be reconstructed and widened, turn lanes will be constructed and intersections will receive improvements.

Crews continue work in the median of I-94 and left lane and shoulder closures will remain during this phase.

Throughout this work zone, motorists can expect:
-          Reduced speeds of 25 mph on 25th Street and 40 mph on I-94. Reduced speeds are present in the work zone to ensure safety for the traveling public and crews that will be working adjacent to traffic.
-          Congestion through project area where traffic is head to head.
-          Left turns will not be accessible from many intersections in the project area. Motorists will only be able to make right turns from these intersections in the work zone. This is to provide safety to workers and to lessen the traffic impacts of the project.
-          Significant delays, as there will be reduced lanes of traffic throughout the project and on I-94 where crews are widening the bridge pier.

The NDDOT Fargo District suggests planning ahead and using alternate routes if possible.

The 25th Street South reconstruction project will add an additional driving lane in each direction on the stretch between 17th Avenue and 23rd Avenue, including widening the bridge that crosses I-94. An on-ramp will be added for northbound traffic on 25th Street South to enter eastbound I-94 without crossing traffic. At the completion of the project, motorists will increase from two to three lanes of traffic in each direction, with a center turning lane.  The project is expected to wrap up in November 2014, weather permitting.

Bridge crews will inspect bridges in western Marshall County May 28-29

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists on Highway 1 and Highway 317 in western Marshall County will experience daytime lane closures through Thursday, May 29, as crews conduct routine bridge inspections along the Red River.

Workers will be inspecting the Oslo Bridge on Highway 1 on Wednesday, May 28, and the Highway 317 bridge on Thursday, May 29. Workers will be present from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Flaggers will be present, with short-term delays expected. Over-width vehicles will experience longer delays.

Drivers are urged to slow down to 55 mph in the work zones.

Crews inspect bridges every two years to ensure that they are in good condition. They will use specialized equipment to look for cracks, damage and other issues.

For statewide travel information, visit     

Highway resurfacing projects in Twin Valley area, Kittson County begin May 27

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists will encounter intermittent lane and shoulder closures on several area highways when a resurfacing project begins Tuesday, May 27. 

Crews will be doing seal coating and striping on Highway 32 near Twin Valley, Highway 200 northeast of Twin Valley to Mahnomen County, and Highway 75 between Donaldson and Hallock. Flaggers and pilot cars will be present, with short-term delays to be expected.

Morris Seal Coat is the prime contractor for the project. Work is expected to be complete by mid-June.

When the project is complete, motorists will notice a smoother, safer ride along Highway 32, Highway 200 and Highway 75. This project helps ensure MnDOT’s transportation system will continue to serve the state for many years.

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit or dial 5-1-1.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

BBB advice on handling door-to-door solicitors

Burnsville, Minnesota – May 22, 2014 With temperatures finally rebounding, solicitors offering asphalt services and magazine subscriptions – among other products and services - will be making the rounds and may well make their way to your front doorstep. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) reminds people to stay alert and keep in mind that these sellers are venturing onto your home turf; if you don’t like how a given sales pitch is going, take one step back and close the door.

Though many door-to-door salespeople operate honestly and represent reputable businesses, there are others who are looking only to make a sale and move on as quickly as possible, regardless of whether or not what they’re telling people is accurate or not. BBB recommends the following on how to handle door-to-door solicitors:

Ask for identification. A reputable seller will provide you with all the information you request, including ID and a business card.

Verify the individual and the company. If you are interested in a product or service outlined by a door-to-door solicitor, get everything in writing including price, contract duration and all other terms and conditions. Tell the salesperson you will check it out and get back to him or her. Then research the company yourself and contact them directly to verify the salesperson is an employee. Also, be sure to visit the company’s BBB Business Review at

Inquire about licensing. Have they secured a solicitor’s license from the city they’re doing business in?

Read the contract closely. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before signing your name.

Don’t be pressured. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics and be aware that anything you sign could construe a contract.

Do the Math. Paying $30 to $40 per month for magazine subscriptions may not sound like much, but if the contract runs for two years – or longer – charges can add up quickly. Make sure you have an understanding of what the average subscription costs for any magazine that interests you. Most magazines have detachable postcards inside with the lowest rates available.
Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives the customer three days to cancel purchases over $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business. Along with a receipt, salespeople should also include a completed cancellation form that customers can send to the company to cancel the agreement. By law, the company must give customers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.
Listen carefully. Some unscrupulous door-to-door sellers will do everything they can to close the deal immediately, and even make special offers to entice you. Listen to their tone. Are they speaking more loudly as they get deeper into their sales pitch? Are they ignoring you despite your saying that you’re not interested? If so, find a way to end the conversation quickly.

Stand strong. Do not invite unsolicited salespeople into your home. If you do allow a salesperson inside and decide during the presentation that you are not interested in making a purchase, simply ask them to leave. If the salesperson refuses to leave, tell them you will call the police and follow through if they don’t leave immediately.
Steer clear of asphalt firms that say they have leftover asphalt from another job. A classic tactic of less-than-reputable asphalt firms is to tell consumers they have extra asphalt leftover for another job and will perform the work for a minimal cost. Professional asphalt contractors know, with great accuracy, how much paving material is needed to complete a project. They rarely have leftover material. It’s also a good idea to get multiple estimates before choosing any contractor.
Victims of door-to-door solicitors can file a complaint with their Better Business Bureau at, as well as with their local law enforcement, and state Attorney General’s offices.

DNR to lift burning restrictions in remainder of Minnesota counties

Burning restrictions are lifted in all Minnesota counties on Friday, May 23, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The DNR is lifting the restrictions due to decreased fire danger because of wet conditions and green up moving northward.  

Those seeking to burn, need to obtain a burning permit available through state and federal forestry offices, from local fire wardens, or online by paying a $5 fee per calendar year. Online permits need to be activated on the day of the burn. See

Because fire danger can change quickly, DNR foresters are able to turn off burning permits in individual counties whenever conditions warrant.  This could occur if there is a dry, windy day where fires could start easily and burn quickly.

Check the Fire restrictions page on the DNR website at: for information on daily changes to burn permits. 

Although the state burning restrictions are lifted, local areas, counties or municipalities may have specific regulations or restrictions that affect burning operations. Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

The DNR advises anyone doing burning to keep burn piles small, have a water supply nearby, and stay with the fire until it is completely out. If the fire escapes, the homeowner is responsible for the damage and suppression costs.

Travelers are urged to use caution in work zones over Memorial Day weekend

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The Minnesota Department of Transportation urges motorists to use extra caution while driving through highway work zones over Memorial Day weekend. 

Motorists should be prepared for slower moving traffic and use extra caution in highway work zones. Plan ahead, think about alternate routes and go to before you leave home to get information about road construction and detours.

“We are working on hundreds of construction projects around the state,” said Sue Mulvihill, deputy commissioner and chief engineer. “It is critical that drivers pay attention and slow down in work zones and make it a safe weekend for everyone.”

Highway projects that may affect weekend travel May 23-26 include:
Twin Cities area
·        Southbound Highway 169 between Highway 62 and Valley View Road – closed; traffic will be detoured to westbound Highway 212 and eastbound Interstate 494
·        35E in St. Paul – lane and ramp closures
Central Minnesota
·        I-94 in Monticello – narrow lanes, reduced speed limits
·        Highway 10 interchange construction in Rice – narrow lanes and reduced speeds
·        Highway 95 in Cambridge – closed with detour
Northern Minnesota
·        I-35 near Cloquet - lane closures
·        Highway 2 in Duluth - Bong Bridge construction
·        Highway 18 - Highway 47 junction to the County Road 61 – lane closures
·        Highway 29 in Alexandria closed between 3rd Avenue and 6th Avenue
Southern Minnesota
·        I-35 in Owatonna - single lane traffic in both directions
·        Highway 7 and Highway 22 closed from Cosmos to Hutchinson
·        Highway 14 closed from Florence to Tracy
·        Highway 24 closed from Litchfield to Highway 15
·        Highway 52 south of Cannon Falls – lane closures
·        Highway 63 closed south of Stewartville
·        Highway 212 closed from Dawson to Highway 59

Check for additional road information.

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the deadliest on Minnesota roads..
The four-year average (2010-13) for work zone crashes is 1,817 crashes and seven fatalities per year.

MnDOT reminds motorists to follow these guidelines when driving through work zones:

  • Stay alert, especially at night.
  • Obey posted speed limits. Fines may double for violations in work zones.
  • Expect work zones to constantly change. Day to day, you could experience lane shifts, closures or moving workers and vehicles.
  • Never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.
  • Don’t make unnecessary lane changes.
  • Stay off cell phones and mobile devices.
  • Be patient. Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Move over one lane, if possible, or reduce speed for stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles, including ambulance, fire, law enforcement or maintenance and construction vehicles.

Sign up for MnDOT email updates to get construction project and major closure alerts. Other updates include bicycle projects, finance, planning, and permits.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Highway 59 resurfacing project north of Detroit Lakes begins May 27

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Motorists on Highway 59 between Detroit Lakes and the Buffalo River north of Callaway will encounter intermittent lane and shoulder closures when a resurfacing project begins Tuesday, May 27, weather permitting. The project also includes several culvert replacements and pedestrian accessibility improvements within the city of Callaway.

Crews will begin by replacing culverts and making the pedestrian accessibility improvements. During this phase of the project, traffic impacts will be limited to occasional lane and shoulder closures. Flaggers may be required at times, but delays will be minimal.

Later phases of the project will require a detour. Additional information on the detour and the resurfacing portion of the project will be released later.

Central Specialties, Inc. of Alexandria is the prime contractor for the $4.8 million project. Work is expected to be complete by late July.

When the project is complete, motorists will notice a smoother, safer ride along 14 miles of Highway 59. This project helps ensure MnDOT’s transportation system will continue to serve the state for many years.

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit or dial 5-1-1.