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#AsktheCity: Timing Construction Projects

Updated: 09/11/2018

We know you have questions about city services. We hear them in the community and read them on social media. Unfortunately, we cannot always respond to each individually. We hope to use the City Blog to better address your questions and clear up any confusion. 

Have a question for us? Submit your question or ask us on our Facebook page

Q: Why doesn’t the city and county better time construction projects? 

Road construction is frustrating for everyone. We get it. We drive the same roads, drop our kids off at the same schools and live in the same neighborhoods. Lingering construction projects don’t always seem to make sense. 

However, many factors go into timing road construction projects, especially here in Minnesota where our construction season is so short. The fact is road projects don’t just happen overnight. Most take six to 12 months of preparation. This includes engineering design, working with affected property owners, coordinating with other local agencies, seeking and awarding bids, ordering materials and scheduling the project to fit the contractor and city’s schedule. 

When it comes to scheduling construction work, safety is always our priority. However, avoiding the school season is not always feasible. For example, the Scott County pedestrian crossing project on 17th Avenue happened quite quickly. After a final design was approved in July, the project moved through the bid and scheduling process with the goal of completing the majority of the work before school started. Had the county chosen to wait on the project to completely avoid school season, it would have had to be pushed back to 2019. 

So what impacts scheduling a road construction project? While we try to obtain a good balance with the many pressures on scheduling a project (events, winter, school, etc.), contractors are at the mercy of the weather and their schedule can change daily. Even though all projects have a completion date, sometimes crews get behind. In that case, a project must still get done – even when it’s inconvenient. 

Similarly, many contractors work on multiple projects at once, as do cities, counties, the state and private developers. We do our best to coordinate, but it’s not always possible. We try to learn from these experiences and improve our process each time. One thing we can assure you is we will do our best to keep you informed throughout the process.

If you have questions about road construction scheduling, we encourage you to contact the city’s Engineering Division at or Scott County’s Highway Department at

  1. Updated: 09/11/2018