Congestion Solution at I-35 Highway 19 Intersection is…
The Rice County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously today to move forward with planning for a six legged roundabout at the I-35 Highway 19 intersection.
County Highway Engineer Dennis Luebbe explained, "This is an agreement to do some additional planning out there. Spending some dollars to get some more design concepts solidified."
Luebbe told Commissioners he had applied for a couple of different funding sources to help defray the local cost for the proposed project. The agreement with MnDOT approved today, "That's setting the course for us to spend about $35,000 of our money along with $67,000 of MnDOT money to hire a consultant to do more geometric layouts and do some environmental scoping and get this project nailed down further."
"So that's what this resolution supports," Luebbe addeed, "While that's going on we're already seeking some grants with MnDOT and the state of Minnesota for construction funding of that project."
Commissioners remarked the intersection has been a problem for a long time. Commissioner Galen Malecha of Northfield stated, "What's even worse is when MnDOT told us we'd have to do it on our own. It's been a challenge however I see light at the end of the tunnel here. MnDOT's finally come to their senses and wants to work with us on it."
Commissioners also passed a resolution today supporting an application for funding from the Minnesota Highway Freight Program.
Luebbe reported, "Here's the devil in the details. This project is estimated to cost $3 million dollars. The six legged roundabout with some extensive work on our county leg and certainly involves the interstate ramps on I-35 and obviously trunk highway 19. That's a very rough guesstimate if you will but $3 million dollars is the target value we're looking at for construction and some of the design cost."
The second resolution passed would include $1.1 million dollars of federal money through MnDOT through their freight program. That requires a local match.
"Another application we've already submitted is for $900,000 from District 6's (MnDOT) local partnership program." Luebbe pointed out.
The Rice County Highway Engineer added, "Commissioner as you spoke this has been a long time coming and MnDOT's finally bringing their resources to bare, which is true, but they're asking us to lead the project. We're soliciting the money to actually building the project."
Luebbe says plans would be for bids in the spring of 2022 with construction beginning in July of that year.
Commissioner Malecha commented, "It's unfortunate the legislature has to play games with the bonding bill. Our Legislators need to get their act together. Get it figured out and quit playing the games of politics."
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