Willmar is seeking a road safety audit of the Business 71 North intersection
WILLMAR -- A Minnesota Department of Transportation road safety audit is being proposed to reduce traffic crashes and improve safety at the intersection of Business 71 North and state Highway 294/County Road 24, near the Kandiyohi County Health a...
WILLMAR -- A Minnesota Department of Transportation road safety audit is being proposed to reduce traffic crashes and improve safety at the intersection of Business 71 North and state Highway 294/County Road 24, near the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building.
The audit proposal was recommended by the Willmar City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee Tuesday evening and will be considered by the full council on March 6.
The committee voted to support the audit after receiving an explanation of the proposal from Jon Henslin, traffic and final design engineer with MnDOT's District 8 headquarters in Willmar.
Henslin was invited to the meeting by City Administrator Michael Schmit. Schmit said the city has received calls and e-mails from people living in the Eagle's Landing area and from people living near County Road 24 (golf course road), expressing concerns for safety at the intersection.
The city is looking for assistance from the state in improving the intersection before the state transfers jurisdiction for Highway 294 to the city.
The highway was considered a state road because it served the Willmar Regional Treatment Center-- a state facility. But the road will no longer be considered a state highway because the treatment campus is no longer a state facility, since it was sold to a private entity.
"All the entities want to make certain if there is something that needs to be done, we get it corrected'' before the transfer takes place, said Henslin.
According to Schmit, the state will also be transferring jurisdiction for Business 71 North to the city.
"We wanted to involve MnDOT in these discussions because it has some implications with the (jurisdiction) turn-back,'' he told the Tribune in an interview. "We're working on it now. There likely will be a resolution coming to the City Council next month, which would start the turn-back process.''
Henslin said his data indicate nine crashes have occurred at the intersection during a five-year period from 2001 through the end of 2005. The number is not a real heavy rate, "but still it's something which anybody's concerned with when you have accidents.''
Henslin said MnDOT has money this year to perform the audit of possible safety improvements. The audit would start April 1 and be completed by May 1, and would be handled by a team of people from outside District 8 who have knowledge in highway safety.
In other business, the committee voted to recommend the council hold a hearing on April 3 to consider amending the city ordinance to let beer be sold at Bill Taunton Stadium at Baker Field for an upcoming baseball game.
Permission to sell beer during the July 25 semi-professional baseball game in Willmar was requested by Ryan Voz, general manager of the Alexandria Beetles baseball team. The team is a member of the Northwoods Baseball League and is proposing to play the Mankato MoonDogs at the Willmar stadium.
The ordinance amendment proposed by City Clerk Kevin Halliday and being drafted by City Attorney Richard Ronning would allow beer to be sold in a city park "at the council's discretion.'' If the amendment is approved, the council would need to pass a motion to authorize a specific date for the sale, said Halliday.
In other business, the committee voted to approve plans and specifications and to call for bids to be opened on April 17 for construction of the 2006 street improvements.
Also, the committee voted to recommend the council approve a resolution to authorize the city to seek permission to move the discharge point for Willmar's wastewater treatment plant.
Permission will be sought from the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners and from the Joint County Drainage Authority of Kandiyohi, Chippewa and Renville counties. The discharge point would be moved from County Ditch 46 on the southwest edge of Willmar to Hawk Creek, located several miles west of Willmar.
The new discharge point will be near the site of the city's new wastewater treatment plant.