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|Paynesville Press - Feb. 5, 2003|
Four "Build" Alternatives
Still under consideration for the future route of Highway 23 are four "build" alternatives - improving the current route through Paynesville, a bypass to east of town, a bypass through the west side of town, and a far west bypass - and one "no build" alternate, leaving the road exactly as it is. |
The "no build" option, according to traffic studies and projections, would result in near gridlock at peak times by 2025, indicating a need for some sort of improvements. So far, the engineers have collected traffic data, anaylzed it, and projected it until 2025. They have also listed a number of considerations - engineering, environment, and social - for each route.
Within the next two months, MnDOT is expected to hold another public meeting to show these factors to the public. Then the study of Highway 23 will move to the next stage: weighing these factors to determine which future route is best.
Map of these proposed routes were unavailable for reproduction at press time but are available for the public to view at city hall.
Here are the four "build" options traveling through Paynesville from west to east.
East BypassAs it would come from the west into Paynesville, there are two options. It could stay on the existing route but this may not prove ideal as MnDOT would either have to purchase land with houses to the north of the existing Highway 23 or run into the land trust by the golf course. An alternate is to leave the existing route by the county line and turn to the north slightly and then use farmland to build the new road.
Once it reaches the golf course (where it might need some land from the course) it would head east. It would go over Co. Rd. 181 and then have an interchange with Highway 55 just east of the city limits. Then it would go over Co. Rd. 34, have an intersection with a city street before crossing the railroad, and join back with the existing Highway 23 before crossing the Crow River. It would have four exits to town: where it splits, the interchange with Highway 55, an intersection with a city street on the east side of town, and where it rejoins existing Highway 23.
Far West BypassThis bypass still would split with the existing Highway 23 around the Roseville Road. Then it would run north - still in Kandiyohi County - to the west of Roseville Road. It would skirt the edge of the new airstrip and cross the Crow River at nearly 90 degrees. Then it would go over the railroad tracks and have an interchange with Highway 55 west of Paynesville. It would run parallel to 185th Street (to the south to avoid the substation), have an intersection with Lake Avenue near the substation, go around the sewage ponds, and connect with existing Highway 23 east of Paynesville. Both Roseville Road and 185th Street would be used as frontage roads.
This route would have four exits to Paynesville: when it splits, an interchange with Highway 55, an intersection with Lake Avenue, and when it rejoins Highway 23 east of town.
Improving Existing RouteThis route would continue past the high school, where the south access would become a "right on, right out," meaning drivers could only make a right turn into the parking lot from the west and a right turn back onto Highway 23. It would not be a full intersection where drivers could cross the median to go in the other direction.
The north school access - by the student parking lot - would remain a full intersection.The next intersection would be Main Street and the next Highway 55. This route would turn to the east and have an intersection with Highway 55 by the armory. Then it would go north and resume the existing route of Highway 23.
Two curves would be flattened: the curve by Mill Street would be flattened by taking land to the north and the curve by River Street would be flattened by taking land to the south.
This route would have intersections spaced out, for instance, at Burr Street, at Oak Park, at Stearns Avenue, at Highway 124 (Lake Avenue), at Garfield Avenue, and at Clare Street. Other roads and driveways would be "right on, right off" only.
The speed for this would likely be lower than for a bypass, even for the same number of lanes. Once built, MnDOT will let drivers use the new highway for a few months and then do a speed study to determine an appopriate speed, said MnDOT engineer Lowell Flaten.
Businessman Dick Johnson argued last week that Washburne Avenue, the main connection with downtown, should really be an intersection with Highway 23. Flaten said that another intersection possibly could be removed and Washburne Avenue added as an intersection.
As this route goes through town, the best side to take land is to the south, according to Edwards and Kelcey. One concern with this route is that it would interfere with the Lakedale Telephone building.
West BypassThis bypass options has several options. As it would come from the west into Paynesville, it would have the same two options as the east bypass, due to the land trust and the houses along the existing route.
Once this bypass reaches the golf course, it has three more options: to follow the current path right past the high school; to turn slightly to the west and go behind Alco, the American Legion, and the Country Inn (running over the Paynesville Area Center); and to turn even more to the west, follow the runway of the current airport (which should be abandoned by then).
Then each of these routes would cross the Crow River, have an interchange or intersection with Highway 55, go north of town, follow 185th Street, and rejoin existing Highway 23 east of town.
This bypass would also have four exits to Paynesville: when it splits, an interchange or intersection with Highway 55, an intersection with Lake Avenue, and when it rejoins Highway 23.
Return to Highway 23 Study.
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