Letter: Keep Highway 71 turn lanes
I applaud the Kandiyohi County Commissioners' decision recently to table a decision on the "re-do" of the intersection at the Human Services and Golf Course Road (Highways 71 and 294) and appreciate the opportunity to give feedback.
I own the restaurant at the golf course, The Oaks at Eagle Creek, and since September of 2008 I use this intersection daily. I know the safety record of this intersection and understand the need for some changes, and the new flashing red lights have not gotten the results MnDOT was looking for. I have looked over the redesigns that have been proposed and the only one that makes sense is an actual stoplight that gives ample notice of higher speed traffic. It is a very expensive option so is likely lower on the "best" option list.
Before any significant money is spent, I think orange flashing lights could be placed several hundred feet before the crossing to warn the higher-speed vehicles of "High Accident Area Approaching." This would eliminate any road construction and be a cheaper version for a one- to two-year period to study more results.
I think the initial design by MnDOT was good. It has very good visibility both directions and the high accident rates baffle most of us. People just need to slow down approaching this dangerous area. It would also be a detriment to the golf course and The Oaks if turn lanes and the cross-through options were eliminated.
Please consider other options before closing turn lanes. This would be a real setback to the local businesses and homeowners in this area.