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Construction on Kennedy bridge will continue all winter; other projects effected by cold weather

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EAST GRAND FORKS, MN (WDAZ)—The early winter blast has caught many off guard, and some construction crews were no exception, as mother nature forces them to switch gears.

In East Grand Forks, Jim Sandbeck of Triple J Construction has his guys working hard, even in the cold temps.

"Today we've got a shelter in the front, and they're gonna set some windows and a front door, and then we'll start working our way around the side,” said Sandbeck.

Sandbeck has set up shelters and even heaters so his crews and their projects can stay warm and protected.

"The main thing is the structure. You don't want to freeze the structure."

Sandbeck says his guys stay just as busy in the winter as they do in summer months, but the cold impacts the work they can do, since concrete cannot be poured when it is freezing.

"We really pay attention to when we're gonna dig a hole, and if we have a window of opportunity, you don't want to freeze something up, cause then you can have long-term effects down the line-you know, 10 to 15 years later, cracking in the house, and that's a main concern,” said Sandbeck.

Sandbeck says they also try to take on more indoor jobs, like basement repairs, in the winter to avoid being outside. But some projects, like this one, require them to brave the elements.

"And if we can find something inside, we'll do it, if not, we'll go outside and tough it out and get the project done,” said Sandbeck.

As for the Kennedy Bridge, the city says the crews will continue working throughout the cold season.

As for the Kennedy Bridge here, the city says crews will continue working through out the cold season.

Again, heavy construction—such as pouring concrete—cannot be done in freezing temperatures.

Instead, crews will do minor structural work, and even some demolition in preparation to pour new concrete pylons come spring.

The city says you should be prepared and expect delays, as traffic will be reduced to just one lane in each direction until the project is finished.

“They have a schedule they want to do, but I think, like the rest of us, we're tied to the weather a little bit. So it’s just a matter of doing the work they can and hopefully it’s a good winter for them, they can get a lot done, so that come spring they can start pouring concrete,” said John Bergstrom, of Grand Forks Public Information.

The city does say that blizzards and extreme weather may push back their schedule back a bit, but they still expect the project to be completed in the spring of 2019.

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