Letter: Dilemma on 41st Avenue
Apparently, the disappointment over the decision to close the access to westbound traffic at the intersection of Highway 71 and 41st Avenue hasn't gone away. I stopped by to visit a friend who owns a business on 41st Avenue, who also rents a building across the street to my daughter for her business. After visiting with them for a few minutes, it didn't take long before I began to realize there was still some hostility towards MnDOT for restricting the access to westbound 41st Avenue.
Apparently, an official from MnDOT told my friend that he made the decision to close the access to westbound 41st Avenue because he didn't want any breaks in the cable. However, there are breaks in the cable at two other intersections on North 71. One is at 48th Avenue and the other is the intersection of Highway 71 and County Road 90. To make matters worse, there's already been a fatality at Highway 71 and County Road 90. I was told this accident was a result of the confusion resulting from restricting the access to westbound 41st Avenue.
The intersections I just mentioned have each had 14 accidents, which are reported with the Willmar Police Department. Conversely, there's only been one accident on record for the intersection at 41st Avenue, and that was on Oct. 18, 2007. So why the closing of the intersection with the least amount of accidents?
I have to sympathize with the business owners on 41st Avenue. My friend said his walk-in business has dropped off considerably since the cable barrier was erected. He also said it was difficult enough to explain to customers how to get to his business without having to redirect them. Small businesses struggle enough to survive without the challenges that the state keeps putting on them.
I think it would be in the best interest of MnDOT to reverse its decision to close the access to westbound 41st Avenue, and to restore it to its original state. This would be a great example of how government can work for the people, instead of against them.