Herald JournalHerald Journal, Aug. 2, 2004

Hearing Aug. 3 on Hwy 7 improvement plans

By Lynda Jensen

Feedback from the public about the proposed reconstruction of a section of Highway 7 between Silver Lake and Bonifacious is being solicited during a public hearing Tuesday, Aug. 3, in Lester Prairie.

The public hearing, which is scheduled from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Lester Prairie city office building, is designed to obtain comments related to an environmental assessment prepared for the construction, which is planned for 2006.

During the hearing, MnDOT staff and consultants will be available to receive comments and questions.

Detailed layouts showing approximate construction limits, buildings, homes, access points, intersections and similar data will also be available.

MnDOT’s proposal is to mill and overlay 18 miles of Highway 7 from Silver Lake to Carver County Road 10. Plans also include passing lanes at four locations and two “roundabouts” or what are sometimes called traffic circles.

The roundabouts will be placed at the intersections of Highway 7 and Highway 25 between Watertown and Mayer, and at Carver County Road 10 between Watertown and Waconia.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to attend the hearing.

Copies of the environmental assessment, which documents the purpose and need of the project, are also available for public viewing during business hours at the following locations:

• Winsted Public Library, 180 Main Ave. W. in Winsted

• Watertown Public Library, 309 Lewis Avenue in Watertown.

• MnDOT District 8 Offices, 2505 Transportation Road in Willmar and

• MnDOT office at 1400 Adams Street S.W. in Hutchinson

The public comment period ends Friday, Aug. 13.

Anyone with questions may contact MnDOT project engineer Keith Voss at (320) 214-3697 or by e-mail at keith.voss@dot.state.mn.us.

Those with special needs who wants to participate in the meeting may also contact MnDOT through the Minnesota Relay Service at 800-627-3529.

Construction plans

The construction includes two “roundabouts” which entail a circular traffic pattern that causes traffic to go in a semi-circle, without stopping.

In addition to the roundabouts, three passing lanes will be installed as well as a center left-turn lane north of Lester Prairie on McLeod County Road 9 along Highway 7.

The passing lanes will be located east of Silver Lake near the intersection with McLeod County Road 15, near the Carver County Road 21 intersection. and between Highway 25 and Carver County Road 10.

The traffic control measures are expected to address severe, right-angle crashes at each of the intersections listed.

This includes three fatal crashes at the County Road 10 intersection in the past 10 years.

Both intersections at Highway 25 and County Road 10 along Highway 7 have experienced an average of five crashes per year, with about half of them involving people injured or killed, according to Paul Kachelmyer of MnDOT.

Nearly all of the crashes involved right angle or left-turning crashes.

If everything goes according to plan, traffic will be detoured through Lester Prairie during the summer of 2006 while the construction takes place.

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