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Residents' pleas heard; one-way on Skyline Dr. is approved

SPICER -- A nearly one-mile section of road on the west side of Green Lake will be restricted to one-lane traffic starting next summer.

During a special Kandiyohi County Board meeting Thursday in Spicer, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed that turning Skyline Drive into a one-way road was the best way to address homeowners' concerns about speed, pedestrian safety and the number of vehicles on the curvy road that has banks eroding into Green Lake.

The commissioners agreed to wait six weeks to decide whether the one-way traffic will go north or south so they can hear from residents and county engineers about the preferred direction.

The one-way will begin at the edge of Spicer's city limits -- near the old Whistle Stop -- and extend north about 4,000 feet.

It's hoped the change will divert traffic from Skyline Drive to an underused frontage road built parallel to state Highway 23 for the purpose of drawing traffic away from the lake road.

The goal of the one-way is to improve safety, especially for children who tend to dash across Skyline Drive from their homes on one side of the road to the beach on the other side.

There are about 40 homes on Skyline Drive, also known as County Road 144.

Some of those residents, including Linda Mikelson, pleaded with the commissioners to alter the road before someone's child or grandchild is hurt or killed.

During a lively discussion among the 60 or so people at the meeting, options like speed bumps, lowering the speed limit, restricting truck traffic, leaving the road the way it is and widening the road to better accommodate two-lane traffic and a bike path were all presented.

Because the state sets traffic speeds on different road classifications, reducing the 30 mph speed limit on Skyline Drive isn't an option, said Public Works Director Gary Danielson, who also dismissed the speed bump idea because of liability concerns and problems with snow removal.

Implementing the one-way will be "simple enough," Danielson said. The county can "buy a bunch of sign" and paint new stripes on the road that will put vehicle traffic on one half and bikes and walkers on the other half.

The cost to create a one-way would be about $8,000, according to Commissioner Harlan Madsen.

The other option Danielson was asked to consider by residents was to construct two cul-de-sacs that would create dead-ends on the road. That option would cost nearly $250,000 and could take several years to complete because land would have to be purchased.

Given the economic times, Mikelson said making the road a one-way was the logical option, an opinion that was echoed by many residents in the room.

If it turns out having a one-way isn't effective, said Tom Lindemann, another homeowner, it'll be simple enough to remove the signs, repaint the road and try another option.

Danielson said the county will eventually turn Skyline Drive over to New London Township because the county already owns the frontage road. Before that happens, he said, the county intends to address the safety concerns and resurface it.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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