By Ivan Raconteur
Roundabouts are definitely off of the table, but discussion about realignment of the McLeod County Road 9 and County Road 23 intersection on the east side of Lester Prairie took a new turn last Monday with a proposal that would reroute County Road 23 to the north of the Lester Prairie Medical Clinic.
The city council, city engineer, and some concerned citizens met with representatives from the McLeod County Highway Department to discuss the project.
The highway department presented several options for the project. Some of these included medians and left turn lanes on County Road 9, which drew criticism from some of those present.
“Why do we have to have medians?” Council Member Larry Hoof asked. “They are a waste of money, and they clog up with snow and dirt.”
County project engineer Tim Becker said the medians would help with the flow of traffic.
“People get confused with 50 feet of pavement,” Becker said.
Option number six received the most positive response from the council and the residents.
It involves changing the intersection completely, and routing the portion of County Road 23 west of County Road 9 north of the Lester Prairie Medical Clinic opposite of the entrance to East Park Estates.
County Engineer John Brunkhorst said this would allow more separation between the eastbound and westbound sections of County Road 23.
“We’d have to work with the landowners, this is just a concept,” Bob Kaytor of the highway department commented.
“This sure cleans up that intersection,” City Engineer Jake Saulsbury said.
Mayor Eric Angvall said the proposed change would help to make the development seem more like a part of the city.
Brunkhorst said the downside of this option is the additional right-of-way cost, and the added costs associated with new road construction.
The plan is in the very preliminary stage, Brunkhorst said, because it was developed in the short time since the McLeod County Rail Authority stymied the county’s plan to build a roundabout at the intersection. The roundabout was ruled out because it would conflict with the Dakota Rail corridor on the south side of the intersection.
Brunkhorst said the project, which is scheduled for 2010, also includes flattening out the curve on the County Road 23 west of County Road 9 and bring the road up the standards required because part of the funding for the project will come from $720,000 in federal aid.
Brunkhorst said Carver County will also be improving its portion of the road, which runs between Lester Prairie and New Germany.