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Paynesville City Council might soon get a look at Highway 23 bypass design

PAYNESVILLE -- A final design of the proposed state Highway 23 bypass near Paynesville could be presented to the Paynesville City Council by its first February regular meeting.

PAYNESVILLE -- A final design of the proposed state Highway 23 bypass near Paynesville could be presented to the Paynesville City Council by its first February regular meeting.

Mayor Jeff Thompson said engineer Lowell Flaten of the District 8 office of the Minnesota Department of Transportation presented a bypass design update during Wednesday's council meeting and informed him that a final design should be ready within the next two weeks.

The final design is expected, but "with no promises," to be presented to the council during its Feb. 13 regular meeting, Thompson said, and the city would be required to schedule a public hearing within 15 days following the design release. Thompson said the city would then need to hold the public hearing within 60 days and follow with a 90-day period for public comment about the design before making final project design approval.

Flaten estimated that construction on the bypass would still be scheduled for 2010 and 2011 as planned, Thompson said.

Thompson indicated that some minor design alterations were made to the future bypass location near the Paynesville Airport and to the entrance and exit ramps of the bypass near downtown Paynesville. He also said the bypass location near state Highway 55 was modified to provide more space between the two state highways.

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In addition to the design plan, Paynesville would also need to make a decision about linking a roadway from the future bypass to downtown Paynesville. Thompson said the bypass would be about a half-mile north of downtown near Lake Avenue North. Thompson said the city would make a decision about the link sometime following the final design release, but two options have already been proposed.

One option includes extending Lake Avenue North across the railroad tracks located north of downtown and directly linking it to Lake Avenue South, Thompson said. The second option reroutes Lake Avenue North westward to link it up with Washburne Avenue that goes south through the middle of downtown.

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