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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - It appears a planned major street project in downtown Rochester will be delayed at least one year.

Construction of the planned Discovery Walk project was scheduled to begin this summer and continue into 2023. But like other large and small projects that have gone to bid during the pandemic era, planners had to backtrack due to an “unpredictable bidding environment.”

The Destination Medical Center Corporation Board of Directors was briefed on the situation at its Thursday meeting.

The board was told:

“There seems to be a lack of capacity by contractors, resulting in seeing only one or two bid submissions for major projects. Current prices on labor and materials are currently extremely volatile creating unpredictability within budget estimates.”


Because of these and other factors, the project timeline is being modified. The current plan calls for seeking bids this fall and starting work next spring. Planners say the current plan keeps the 2023 completion date.

“The project team anticipates that if we have another favorable winter, we can start. Potential to condense a three-year project into two years in 2022 and still be complete in 2023.”

The board was told this would also give motorists and pedestrians a break from other major downtown projects that have created lengthy disruptions.

Here is the DMC description of the project, which has an estimated cost of around $20-million.

Discovery Walk covers a four-block distance along 2nd Avenue SW in downtown Rochester, from Soldiers Field Park to Annenberg Plaza. It is part of Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square sub-district and connects with Heart of the City public space – all within a 10-minute walk.

Discovery Walk is a four-block linear parkway in downtown Rochester, MN along 2nd Avenue SW that will serve pedestrians as well as vehicle traffic. This multipurpose public space and streetscape is the first of its kind in Rochester. The vision for this project is to create a high amenity landscaped road and utility reconstruction project in the middle of downtown that prioritizes pedestrian experience while also maintaining flexibility for bike and vehicular access, civic events, and supports future development.

DMC rendering
DMC rendering
DMC rendering

News update:  One of the men killed in a downtown Minneapolis shooting early Saturday was supposed to graduate from college later in the day.

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