Herald JournalHerald Journal, Jan. 10, 2005

No decision yet, but state may delay Hwy 7 work

By Lynda Jensen

Financial shortfalls are causing the Minnesota Department of Transportation to think about bumping scheduled road work back one year on Highway 7.

“I really want to stress that a decision has not been made,” said MnDOT Public Affairs Coordinator Sandy East.

The project crosses over two MnDOT districts, District 8, which includes McLeod County on its eastern edge, and the metro district, which includes Carver County.

For road projects, the district boundary isn’t as important to MnDOT as when road maintenance and other issues are addressed, East said.

“We will be working closely with the metro district (on the project),” she said.

The work, which is slated between Silver Lake and St. Bonifacious includes two roundabout and four passing lanes.

MnDOT’s plan 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.

Roundabouts entail a circular traffic pattern that causes traffic to go in a semi-circle, without stopping.

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.

In addition to the roundabouts, four 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.

Two of the 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-turn crashes.

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.

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