Planned interchange for Highway 23 and Highway 19 in Marshall. Planned interchange for Highway 23 and Highway 59 in Marshall.

Major Marshall interchanges proposed for Highway 23

Two projects to install interchanges on Highway 23 at Highway 59 and Highway 19 were proposed Tuesday to the Lyon County Board Tuesday through the “Corridors of Commerce” program.

“Something needs to be done now,” said Cal Brink of the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce. The plan is to build overpasses on the two interchanges in an effort to improve hauling of freight and reduce traffic barriers for other drivers.

The county board voted to put their stamp on the project.

The 2013 Minnesota Legislature created the Corridors of Commerce program, authorizing the sale of up to $300 million in new trunk highway bonds for the construction, reconstruction and improvement of trunk highways for projects not already in the State Transportation Improvement Program to provide additional highway capacity on segments where there are currently bottlenecks in the system.

And, to improve the movement of freight and reduce barriers to commerce. Brink told the board the commission is in the process of “scoring” projects for the future.

“To be frank, these two projects in Marshall will score very high. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two projects score highest on the list.”

He said serious accidents at these intersections have made improvements highly likely in Marshall. The fact a new hotel may be established in the Highway 19 area, “Will drive additional traffic in that area,” said Brink.

“At Highways 23 and 59 at the Walmart intersection, changes are coming that will drive a lot of traffic out there,” Brink said.

“In the scoring system, any of the counties affected need to get support from the affected agencies,” said Brink. The Marshall City Council and Chamber of Commerce have already given support for the project.

“I went to a Highway 23 commission meeting. They stated the project will score high,” said Brink.

Commissioner Charlie Sanow objected to how fast this program is being “thrown out” without giving residents the chance to comment on the project. “The public in Marshall has no say.

They will be informed about it later,” said Sanow. Brink indicated, “There are times to put your best foot forward when the timing is right.” The interchanges could have a positive effect on development in Marshall, Brink indicated. With new developments planned, a better form of transportation will be needed.

“We need to go through this scoring process,” said Lyon County Engineer Aaron VanMoer. “If they don’t use the money in Marshall, they will use it somewhere else,” said Commissioner Gary Crowley.

“I don’t have a problem supporting this,” said Commissioner Steve Ritter as he made the motion to support the projects. Only Commissioner Sanow voted against the motion.

IN OTHER action the board:

•Met the new director of the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council, Carrie Bendix.

“We offer individualized employment and training services for adults seeking new employment, changing careers, or re-entering the workforce. Career exploration, training for new or improved skills and job seeking assistance are all available to adults trying to navigate the challenges of a changing workforce,” according to Bendix. In addition, the Private Industry Council is training tomorrow’s workforce through a variety of services available to youth and young adults ages 14 – 24. “In the community, businesses can benefit from our services: from hiring employees, training your workers, or advice on employment law,” Bendix indicated.

•Approved a conditional use permit for Dalton Werkman and Brandon Kerr, owners of Kerrman Farms in Island Lake Township.

The company wanted to add a 2,400-head swine finishing barn 101x192 feet with an eight-foot “below the barn” manure pit. A public hearing was held and among the stipulations was a need for the firm to begin construction on the feedlot within a year. Also stipulated was that manure can’t be hauled on private property without permission of the property owners.

Commissioner Steve Ritter said, “It’s obvious the applicant did not reach out to the neighbors. Can we make it a stipulation to do that?” he asked.

John Biren, County Planning and Zoning Director indicated he sent out letters and, “I do let the owners know.”

County Attorney Rick Maes indicated it would be a good idea to reach out to the neighbors when such a project is being planned.

•Met Becci TenBersel, new executive director of the Women’s Rural Advocacy Programs (WRAP).

The group was established in 1994. Among the services of the WRAP program includes a crisis line, safe housing, transportation and legal matters, said TenBersel.

“We do information and referrals,” to help women,” she said. “We are a community-based program, which means we can get involved in community problems,” and she added, “We do work with local law enforcement to help control domestic abuse.”

•Approved a request for improvement and maintenance of County Ditch 14, in Custer, Sodus and Rock Lake Townships. The petition was brought by area land owners Charles and Gloria Timmerman. The ditch is in need of repair. It was originally constructed in 1915-16.

“Being 100 years old, the tile is experiencing more frequent failure and is at the end of its useful life,” indicated County Ditch Director Todd Hammer. Commissioners asked if he felt the improvements were necessary, Hammer said, “Yes,” indicating the ditch has insufficient capacity and needs to be enlarged.

The proposed improvements include lowering the depth of the improved portions to accommodate current farming practices; tile outlets and drainage and increase in the size of the existing tiles.

The ditch passes over 12, 40-acre parcels and there are six different owners of land affected by the ditch. The petitioners, Charles and Gloria Timmerman, are one of the owners of land and their address is Balaton.

Engineer William Helget, P.E. of the firm Bolton and Menk, Inc. was appointed to perform engineering duties on the ditch to determine the necessary drainage system improvements. Hammer indicated engineers say the ditch is currently only 20 percent efficient.

Cal Brink

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