by Jim Boyle
Highway 10 through Elk River will soon be restored to two lanes, but not soon enough for many motorists who are being delayed during this $6 million state-led reconstruction project.
Friday, July 12, was particularly problematic.
The highway was already down to one lane in each direction through east Elk River that morning when a backhoe near the intersection of Highway 10 and 171st Avenue hit a power line.
The line fell across the eastbound lanes of the highway, forcing authorities to shut the road down shortly before 11 a.m. while the broken power line set fires to the ditch and provided anxious moments for emergency crews who came onto the scene.
Traffic backed up on Highway 10 as eastbound traffic was diverted onto 171st Avenue, and the up-north crowd in the westbound lanes was slowed considerably.
Elk River Fire let the small grass fires burn while waiting for a work crew from Connexus Energy to come and address the downed line.
Emergency crews were called to another highway accident at 12:08 p.m. when an individual believed to be having a seizure crashed into a light pole on the southeast corner of the intersection of Highway 169 and Main Street.
At 12:15 p.m. another accident on Highway 10 was reported. This one, a three-vehicle, rear-end-type accident, happened at the intersection of 165th Avenue. One driver, Angela Dorene Lovone, 32, of Anoka, and a passenger in her car were transported to Mercy Hospital for an evaluation. Taylor Jean Amberg, 17, of Elk River was cited for duty to drive with due care.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is removing and repairing existing pavement, adding and lengthening turn lanes and updating pedestrian crossings.
The project is projected to be completed mid-August.