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Paynesville Press - April 9, 2003

Four-way stop coming this summer

By Michael Jacobson

The Minnesota Department of Transporation (MnDOT) plans to install a four-way stop, with a flashing overhead red light, at the intersection of Highways 23 and 55 in Paynesville this summer.

MnDOT announced plans to upgrade this intersection in September 2002. At that time, the plan was to improve this intersection this spring, but now MnDOT plans to bid the project in June and do the work in July.

The project should take ten working days to complete, said MnDOT engineer Thomas Dumont. There may be intermittent lane closures and some disruptions to traffic, but the work should not require a detour, according to Dumont.

Following numerous concerns about the safety of this intersection, MnDOT studied it in July 2002. Due to a high accident rate at the intersection (13 accidents in the previous three years), MnDOT determined that improvements were justified.

But - due to the skewed angles of the two highways, as well as the limited visibility due to the Crow River and the curves in Highway 23 - that study also determined that a four-way stop was a better (and cheaper) safety solution rather than a stoplight at the intersection.

The cost of installing a four-way stop is estimated at $40,000, said Dumont, while installing a stoplight usually costs around $180,000.

MnDOT is conducting a separate study of the future route of Highway 23 through or around Paynesville. The four-way stop should improve safety at the intersection in the meantime.

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