Weather Forecast


Willmar council to consider agreement for improvement to troubled intersection

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council on Monday night will consider a cooperative agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Kandiyohi County for construction of the proposed safety improvement at the Business 71/County Road 24/23rd Street Northeast intersection.

The council's Public Works/Safety Committee voted Tuesday to recommend the council approve the agreement. The agreement calls for the city, county and MnDOT to share equally in the cost of the improvement. The improvement is designed to reduce crashes at the intersection.

Total estimated cost of the project is $682,532. The city's share is $227,488, which will be paid by state aid funds and are included in the city's 2010 street improvement program, said Holly Wilson, acting public works director. The county's share is also $227,488 and MnDOT's share is slightly more at $227,556, according to the agreement.

Wilson said the project has been scheduled for bidding on Aug. 27 and the work will be completed by the end of October.

The improvement received the support of the City Council in April and the council also voted to share equally in the cost of the project with the county and MnDOT.

Some severe crashes, one of them fatal, during the past couple of years focused the attention of officials and the public on improving the safety of the intersection.

The intersection does not have the greatest number of crashes in the city, according to Police Department statistics, but the crashes are more severe due to the high rate of speed of the vehicles involved.

The intersection will be redesigned to provide indirect left turns in the median and a southern U-turn to accommodate eastbound traffic. The design is similar to a crash-reduction design constructed in 2008 on U.S. Highway 169 in the city of Belle Plaine, according to MnDOT.

The design is the result of more than a year and half of study and discussion by the city, county and MnDOT.

Among other agenda items at Monday's meeting, the council will:

- Honor retired police chief Jim Kulset.

- Receive a Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities presentation from Alexandria Mayor Dan Ness and Tim Flaherty of Flaherty and Hood.

- Consider the purchase of new switching equipment totaling about $9,000 for WRAC-8. The switcher will replace the switcher that crashed shortly before the July 19 council meeting.

- Consider a temporary on-sale liquor license for the Willmar Design Center to serve wine during the downtown "dinner al fresco'' event Aug. 5.

- Consider a special event off-sale liquor license for Torgerson Properties to dispense alcohol during the "ADVANCE'' event sponsored by United Way of West Central Minnesota on Aug. 26 at the Guri Endresen Shelter.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150