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Paynesville Press - January 18, 2006

City council sends letter to MnDOT

(Editor's Note: The Paynesville City Council - as reported in the Press on Wednesday, Jan. 4 - approved sending a letter to MnDOT District 8 (Willmar) at their meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

The following is the actual text of the letter sent to MnDOT, which has not responded formally.

MnDOT officials did tell the city last week that the plan they intend to submit for municipal consent is still being reviewed by their central office and will not be sent to the city until the end of January or early February.)

The Highway 23 project was a topic of discussion at the Paynesville City Council meeting held on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005.

There were three basic issues in relation to municipal consent that were discussed.

Speed (and safety) continues to be a major concern. We appreciate the input you have provided us in regard to how speed limits are established. Considering that speed limits quite often increase as usage and studies dictate, we request that the initial speed limit be posted as low as possible.

We realize that travelers passing through may be quite used to higher speed limits on expressways. However, our own residents, many of which fall into the older age group, will also be using the new route and will need some time to adjust to those new conditions.

We believe that asking many of those drivers to adjust at speeds in excess of our accustomed 55 mph would be an unreasonable major safety risk.

Esthetics also continues to be a concern. While the overall design appears to meet our expectations, we are concerned as to what the final product will be. We are proud of our city and the surrounding community. We do not want a sterile, freeway-looking route traversing it.

We also realize the investment that MnDOT is putting into this project. Please realize also that our investment, though certainly not as great in cold hard cash, is our future.

Thirdly, and perhaps tying all this together, we are concerned as to what assurances we have (once municipal consent is given) that we will get what we've agreed to. This extends all the way from details such as types of lighting, through the number and types of interchanges and intersections, to whether this will be built as designed or scaled back in some way or another. We'd like to know what recourses we have once consent is given.

Again, we thank you for your willingness to help us through this important (and often trying) process.

City of Paynesville
Jeff Thompson, Mayor
Jeff Bertram, Councilmember
Tom Lindquist, Councilmember
Jean Soine, Councilmember
Dennis Zimmerman, Councilmember

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