Editorial: A solution is needed, not the cheapest
Tragedy struck Wednesday at one of the more dangerous intersections in Willmar -- Business Highway 71 and County Road 24. A Ridgewater College football player named Deallo Felder lost his life in a two-vehicle accident.
Our sympathies go out to Felder and his family for this tragic death. Our thoughts go out to the other two men -- Otimbum Wilson and Keith Thompson -- involved in this accident.
This intersection haas been the site of numerous accidents for more than 15 years. There are a number of changes that have affected traffic through this intersection.
- The opening of Willmar Senior High School
- The completion of 23rd Street Northeast construction connecting Business Highway 71 to Civic Center Drive
- The opening of the Health and Human Services Building
- The opening of the Law Enforcement Center
- Expanded residential development north and south of Kandiyohi County Road 24
- The continuing student and public traffic to Ridgewater College
Government officials in Willmar, Kandiyohi County and the state Department of Transportation are looking at numerous alternatives to address the safety concerns of this intersection.
The earlier recommended $200,000 design solution that would close the eastbound-westbound medium plus constructing new turn lanes does not seem to logical solution. Granted, it like is one of the cheaper solutions.
However, the northbound west-turn lane traffic and the southbound east-turn lane traffic would still have vehicles crossing in front of oncoming fast-moving southbound and northbound traffic on Business Highway 71.
Forcing eastbound traffic from the golf course area to travel south to Civic Center Drive and then making a U-turn does not seem logical either.
Granted, this intersection may be bewildering to all -- drivers, traffic experts and government officials.
This may be a time for decision makers to look beyond the the cheapest solution. It is time to find a workable solution to solve this ongoing problem that has existed since the mid-1990s.
Now this problem intersection has cost a young man his life.