Harmony area Amish have to change travel plans with Highway 52 c - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Harmony area Amish have to change travel plans with Highway 52 construction

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HARMONY, Minn. (KTTC) -- Construction season can hit drivers hard, but it's not always just motorists who feel the impact.

Amish buggy drivers will now have to change their travel plans as Highway 52 undergoes more roadwork. 

With construction coming up on May 19, the Amish who use the Buggy Byway system will have to adjust their normal routes.  

"They use the Amish Byway almost every day on US 52 provided by Minnesota Highway Department, and it's a perfect way to keep them off the traffic lane," said Sharon Bishop of Amish Tours of Harmony.

The 10 mile project on Highway 52 stretching from the Iowa border to Harmony will close the Buggy Byway shoulder at times.

"It's just something that they should be aware of and that they probably will be aware of, and if they choose to use a different route which they've been encouraged to do, that would certainly be for their own safety's sake too," added Bishop.

Those who live along the highway said their travel times could increase by up to 20 minutes going in and out of town.

"In a typical week they probably come in for the grocery store, they probably come in to the elevator, they probably come in to the hardware store, and I know they come in to the restaurants occasionally," said Bishop.
Her business has helped distribute letters from MnDOT and Mathy Construction to let buggy drivers know of the upcoming roadwork.

"We distributed them out to the family last week and then with one of the guides on his tour, so I do know that their community is aware of the construction," Bishop explained.

With more than 1,000 Amish people living in the area, it's a tough task.

MnDOT officials said they will make way for buggy travelers still using Highway 52.

Construction should come to an end within three to four weeks.

Although several Amish families said this road work could add to their commutes into town. They also add that the current bumps and potholes littering the Byway are tough on their buggies and that the re-paving is necessary.

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