By ANDREA VARGO
The design plan for Highway 12 reconstruction through Howard Lake was approved by the Howard Lake City Council Tuesday, but not before more questions had been asked about the project.
Gerry Smith, representative of the Howard Lake Business Association, asked Curt Eastlund, representative for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) if it was possible to change the detour.
He asked if vehicle traffic could go north off Hwy. 12 on Co. Rd. 6 to Co. Rd. 35, and just send the truck traffic south on Co. Rd. 6.
Eastlund said the traffic engineers would have to take a look at the situation and determine if the advantages and costs would make sense.
Mn/DOT has to pay the county for the use of those roads, he said.
The people who live on Co. Rd. 6, south of Hwy. 12, don't want the detour through that residential area at all, said one citizen.
There is concern about safety for the school, churches, and homeowners, he said.
Mayor Mark Custer asked Eastlund, "How much power does the city council have on setting detours?"
"If the council backs a proposal, we would give it more consideration," said Eastlund.
Jim Ittel of Ittel's Meats asked again for a stoplight somewhere on Hwy. 12 in order to slow down traffic, so people can cross the street safely.
Eastlund said none of the intersections met the criteria for a stoplight set by the state.
Even though this item is one many people say they want, Eastlund said there is not enough proof it would make anything safer.
Ittel said, "Montrose told MnDOT it could either put in a stoplight or go around the city."
Eastlund, who did not work on that project, said it might have been a matter of politics.
Ittel also pleaded with the council and Mn/DOT not to isolate his business with no parking on Highway 12.
"Approximately 65 percent of my business is out the front door," he said.
American Legion Post 145 representative Gene Schmidt asked that a Sunday liquor referendum be placed on the fall ballot.
"I think people had the opinion we wanted to be open every Sunday," he said.
The Legion wants to be open on Super Bowl Sunday and a few others, he said. The council voted approval.