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Richard and Kathy Schmidt: J-turn is wrong for Highway 23 and 9 intersection

J-turn is wrong for New London intersection of Highway 23 and 9

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Reader Opinion letter

We are very concerned and opposed to the Minnesota Department of Transportations’s proposed changes to the intersection of Minnesota Highway 23 and Highway 9, near the Country Stop in New London.

Why?

The number one reason is safety. The proposed plans do not fix the main issue; vehicles crossing traffic going 65 plus mph. We know that the rate of fatalities increases exponentially when it involves vehicles traveling at these speeds.

With this intersection being less than a mile from our school, the lives of hundreds of students and their families traveling through this intersection deserves the safest passage to attend school, sporting events, etc.

There is also the issue of the additional traffic that will be funneled to this intersection when the county realigns Kandiyohi County Road 40. That is an extra 1,000 cars per day.

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We have a few questions for those who designed this at MNDOT.

How will the emergency vehicles get to County Road 40 with no safe passage when there is lots of traffic? Every minute counts with emergency response. The emergency vehicles must do the J-turn to get to County Road 40 and there is no place for cars to get out of the way.

How does a milk truck full of liquid, hurry across traffic going 65 plus mph, slow down to turn into the J-turn, drive the J-turn, slow down again to turn into the traffic going 65 mph? Remember milk is a shifting liquid in that trailer and can be easily tipped.

We also want to address the common misconception that two of our local businesses are going to have to be bought out to put a bridge/interchange. This is simply not true. If you look across this intersection, you can see that it is undeveloped. Those landowners were instructed by the county to not develop anything for 20 years and that time limit is about to expire.

If these plans go through and if there are even more accidents than before, how long do you think it’s going to take for MNDOT to fix their mistakes? Especially with new businesses being built on that newly sold land.

Please sign the petition at https://www.change.org/stop23and9jturn or contact our Rep. Dave Baker and Sen. Andrew Lang and urge them to write a letter to the MNDOT Commissioner to reconsider these plans.

Richard and Kathy Schmidt

New London

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