DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – There has been a lot of maneuvering to maintain access to businesses on Highway 10 during the reconstruction project there this summer, but a Minnesota Department of Transportation official says the worst is over.

"We're over the hump now," said MnDOT District 4 Public Affairs Director Jerimiah Moerke.

"As far as the overall schedule, I think we're on track," said MnDOT Project Engineer Jesse Miller.

Traffic has backed-up some on weekends, especially over the July 4 weekend, and over the noon hour, Miller said.

But the worst is over for the Highway 10 west section of the project.

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The frontage road from Walmart to Kmart is now open, and "that's a good sign," said Moerke.

"That was confusing for a while," said Miller, as access points opened, closed and shifted. "But overall, businesses were very patient."

"The reason for all that shifting was to maintain access to all those businesses," Moerke said.

Today, Highway 10 access points at Airport Road and Kmart will be open, while the middle junction at Wenner Road (sometimes called Menard's Road) will be temporarily closed for construction.

Highway 10 paving work has started, with the eastbound lane from the airport to Morrow Avenue recently completed.

Later next month, the traffic flow will switch on Highway 10, and work will start on the westbound lanes.

But slow, two-lane traffic on Highway 10 is expected during WE Fest Aug. 6-8.

"It's going to be an inconvenience and it's going to be slow," Miller said.

Detroit Lakes has about $6 million invested in the project, said City Engineer Jon Pratt.

The realignment will provide a way for traffic and pedestrians to travel from the downtown core to the western retail area without using the crowded Highway 10-Highway 59 intersection, he said.

"We're trying to get the (Morrow Avenue section of the) frontage road done before WE Fest," Miller said, in hopes that the new frontage road will take some of the pressure off Highway 59 during the big traffic influx and exodus that comes with WE Fest.

Slow going for concert-goers

MnDOT advised WE Fest motorists to be patient and prepare for sudden stops.

They may also want to consider alternate routes, such as I-94 to Highway 34 between Barnesville and Dunvilla, then Highway 59 to WE Fest.

If possible, avoid travelling during peak times. That means stagger your arrival and departure times if possible.

For WE Fest attendees heading west toward Fargo-Moorhead after the event, "we strongly discourage attempting to turn left onto Highway 10 from county roads," MnDOT said in a news release. "Traffic volumes will be very high, and it will be very difficult for vehicles to find a safe gap."

Motorists should also anticipate delays on Sunday after WE Fest in the following locations:

• Southbound Highway 59 in Pelican Rapids (or at the I-94 on-ramp near Fergus Falls)

• Eastbound Highway 10 from Bluffton to Wadena.

"We just ask for people's patience, especially on weekends," Moerke said. "It gets congested through here, but it will be nice when it's done."