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Traffic study says signal light near new logistics facility in Willmar is not needed

A traffic study paid for by RDC Development has allegedly shown no reason for a proposed traffic signal at Kandiyohi County Road 5 and Willmar Avenue Southwest. The developer was requesting the city pay for the light to help control the increased traffic that the developer believes will come from the logistics facility it is building in the Willmar Industrial Park.

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A traffic study paid for by RDC Development has reportedly shown no need for a new traffic signal light at the intersection of Kandiyohi County Road 5 and Willmar Avenue Southwest. This is despite the proposed logistics facility to be built by RDC in the Willmar Industrial Park at that intersection. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — Despite the wishes of Ruedebusch Development & Construction Development, who will be building a 217,000-square-foot small packing sorting and distribution facility in the Willmar Industrial Park , a traffic study has allegedly declared that a traffic signal light will not be needed at the intersection of Willmar Avenue Southwest and Kandiyohi County Road 5 .

Willmar City Administrator Leslie Valiant said the report, which was paid for by RDC Development, showed that a signal light was not warranted, even with the future increased traffic coming from the logistics business.

"It isn't even close to warranting a traffic light," Valiant said.

In an email to the Tribune, Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission director Aaron Backman said the report was completed by STS, and RDC has not authorized its release to the public.

The purchase agreement between the city of Willmar and RDC Development does stipulate the city, at its cost, would construct and install stoplights at the intersection, but only if the state approved it. With the traffic study coming back in the negative, that seems to release the city from that clause.

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With the report allegedly reporting that the current configuration of the intersection is adequate for traffic needs, Valiant said the city really can't do anything additional to control traffic. Also, if any changes were to be made, the city doesn't have jurisdiction over the intersection. County road 5 belongs to Kandiyohi County and would require the county's approval for any changes to be made.

If things change in the future and traffic levels increase over the projected numbers, Valiant said the issue might come up again.

"It will always be a conversation," Valiant said.

The news regarding the traffic signal comes as the Willmar City Council approved the rezoning of six acres of unplatted land in the Willmar Industrial Park that will become part of the logistics facility's overall site. The acres were rezoned from government/institution to limited industry at Monday's council meeting, following a public hearing.

The city approved selling RDC approximately 32 acres in the Willmar Industrial Park 's Fourth Addition back on Sept. 7. The purchase price for the acreage was $699,750. The city will also receive an additional $140,000 in reimbursements to remove utilities in the area of 32nd Street Southwest, which the company is requesting be vacated, and $11,000 to remove the street lights.

The land is located between Trott and Willmar Avenue Southwest, on the west side of Kandiyohi County Road 5. The land was part of the former Willmar Municipal Airport.

RDC National will be constructing a $25 million, 217,000-square-foot logistics facility to be used for small package sorting and distribution by an end-user that has yet to be named publicly. The company is the preferred developer for this end-user. Companies with whom RDC National has worked in the past include FedEx, Monsanto, Phillips and Tractor Supply Company.

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Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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