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Hwy. 61 plan hits bump(out) yet advances

Project organizers soon will be looking for bids as the reconstruction of Highway 61/Main Street drives on.

The Red Wing City Council on Monday approved plans and specifications for the project and ordered advertisement for bids. Bid letting is planned for Tuesday March 3, staff said.

The council has discussed the project plans many times, and there have been multiple public open house meetings.

On Monday night, some council members did revisit one contentious issue — a pedestrian bumpout on East Avenue and lack of a right turn lane there.

“It’s no secret I’m not in support of this at all,” Council member Dean Hove said of that piece.

“This is certainly not a consensus issue,” project manager Aaron Warford of Bolton & Menk said. “There are pros and cons.”

Since the last meeting where plans were reviewed, the area and bumpout were modified slightly to allow a vehicle to begin turning right onto Main Street while other vehicles can get by, Warford and city Engineering Director Ron Rosenthal said.

Hove and Council member Jason Sebion said Monday night they would like to see a right turn lane onto Highway 61.

Council member Ralph Rauterkus disagreed.

“I really appreciate the bumpout. I think it needs to stay,” he said. “By putting in that right turn lane, you’re putting pedestrians more at risk.”

An amendment to remove the bumpout on East Avenue failed 4-3, with Council members Hove, Jason Sebion and Dustin Schulenberg voting for it.

Afterward, the motion to approve plans and specifications and order advertisement for bids passed unanimously.

Minnesota Department of Transportation has reviewed and approved the plans and specifications for the project, staff said.

Construction is slated to begin this spring, and the project is to be split over two construction seasons.

The council also unanimously approved a motion to convert Potter Street to two-way traffic follwoing Highway 61 construction.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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