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Commissioners question MnDOT plan

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Goodhue County commissioners voiced concern over a Minnesota Department of Transportation plan to end through-traffic at the intersection of Highway 52 and County Road 9 south of Cannon Falls, an area prone to fatal crashes.

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The MnDOT plan would prevent vehicles travelling on County Road 9 from going across Highway 52. Drivers instead would need to turn onto Highway 52 and make a U-turn before turning back onto County Road 9.

"We were not delighted to hear about their fix for this intersection," said County Commissioner Jim Bryant at a Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday morning. He described the U-turn plan as overly complicated.

"People are going to have to accelerate hard, switch into the left lane, hit the brakes, get into the turn lane, swing around, accelerate hard into the left lane, make a lane change to the right lane and then slow down to turn right," he said.

County Engineer Greg Isakson told the committee he was concerned about farmers who own land on either side of Highway 52, and the difficulty they would face moving equipment with the U-turn system.

"Could you see a combine out there trying to make that maneuver?" he asked the committee.

The intersection is particularly fatal for crashes because the slower moving vehicles crossing on County Road 9 are often T-boned by faster moving traffic on Highway 52.

MnDoT's plan should help to reduce fatalities at the intersection, but it is unclear if the plan will create additional problems, Isakson said.

There is also the possibility that drivers will avoid the U-turn by taking nearby 100th and 90th avenues, both gravel township roads.

"They're not designed for a lot of heavy traffic," Isakson said.

An overpass has been mentioned as a long-term solution to the intersection, Bryant said. But he has seen no MnDOT plan in the works and questions where the state will get money for such a project.

MnDOT will hold a public meeting to get community input regarding the intersection 5 p.m. April 11 at Urland Church in Cannon Falls.

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Michael Brun
Michael Brun is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program. He has worked for the Republican Eagle since March 2013, covering county government, health and local events. 
(651) 301-7875
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