County highway plan includes a new J-Turn on Highway 23

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will be constructing a “Reduced Conflict Intersection,” also known as a J-Turn at the intersection of Highway 23 and Lyon County Road 7 in Marshall.

Officials from the MnDOT told the Lyon County Board Tuesday construction will begin in 2019 and be completed the same year.

This was part of a presentation by MnDOT officials to the county board. Reduced Conflict Intersections are intended to decrease fatalities and injuries cause by broadside crashes on four-lane, divided highways.

Megan DeSchepper, of MnDOT, representing the Capital Highway Improvement Plan (CHIP), talked about the projects in the Lyon County area.

They include construction of left turn lanes on State Highway 23 at Lyon County Roads nine and 10 between Cottonwood and Granite Falls. It also includes the Highway 68 shoulder-widening project from Marshall to Minneota.

In 2027, the Highway 68 road will be finished from Minneota to Canby. Another project is a mill and overlay from Fourth Street in Tracy to County Road 7 in Revere.

That will take place in 2019. Mark Klema of MnDOT said, concerning the Reduced Conflict Intersection, or J-Turn, “We’ve had really good luck with J-Turns.”

He added, “We are 60 to 90 percent finished with our plan so we are ready to submit our plan by December,” he said. DeSchepper also presented the plan for 2023 to 2028 that will include work on County Road 23 southwest of Marshall to Pipestone.

Chris Nienaber told the board about the Marshall to Minneota shoulder-widening project that includes five culvert replacements. “The main purposes of the project is to change very narrow shoulders,” he said.

The Reduced Conflict Intersection on Highway 23 in Marshall will reduce a gap needed in both directions to cross the major road. Transitional four-lane divided highway intersections have an elevated risk of several right-angle crashes, especially for drivers attempting to cross all four lanes of traffic or to make a left turn. This project will cost $1.2 million and is intended to enhance safety.

Lance Kalthoff explained the Highway 23 project from Cottonwood to Granite Falls. The $29 million project will be done during the 2020 construction season and will include resurfacing.

Total length of the project is 18 miles. In addition to pavement resurfacing, the project includes the replacement of three pipes with box culverts, the realignment of Lyon County Road 9 in Cottonwood and the construction of left turn lanes at Highway 23 and Lyon County 9; Highway 23 and Lyon County 75 and Highway 23 and Lyon County 10. The idea is to create smoother road surfaces, drainage improvements and enhanced safety.

IN OTHER action the board:

•Authorized Auditor/Treasurer E.J. Moberg to work with the Cities of Cottonwood and Garvin on the possible demolition of houses and garages on two forfeited properties. Some grading may be necessary.

•Noted the REAL ID License/ID Card can be applied for beginning October 1, 2018. This is the best option if an individual plans to travel domestically by air or plans to access federal facilities.

The cost is $25.20 for a license and $19.25 for an ID. All Driver’s License Agent Offices will be closed on Friday, September 28 and Saturday, September 29 to properly prepare for the transition of the new program on October 1.

After 2020, regular driver’s licenses will not be acceptable forms of identification for domestic air travel.

Enhanced diver’s license card will be acceptable but the REAL ID driver’s license or ID Card is the best way to go.

•Hired Jeanette Duis as a dispatcher in the county sheriff’s office. She has five years experience as a Jailer/dispatcher in Yellow Medicine County and is also involved with the Clarkfield Ambulance Service.

•Noted the sales tax collected since 2015 has been over $5.1 million and wheelage tax of about $31,641. The total monies available from sales tax, wheelage tax and interest earnings, after disbursements is $2,754,789.

This money can be used for local projects.

•Noted the Lyon County Landfill received an inquiry requesting a price per ton for accepting 40,000 tons of coal residual/dirt mix from Xcel Energy for the Lyon County Landfill.

The residue will come from cleaning out a site at Granite Falls. Materials deposited would include coal. Lyon County has no set fee at this time.

“We don’t know what the environmental impact may be,” said Commissioner Rick Anderson. He liked the idea of making income from the project but wanted to make sure there was not an environmental problem.

The board requested more information before setting a price or accepting the residual/dirt mix. •Approved the preliminary levy of two percent. Although a $14,933,942 or 3.26 percent was suggested, Commissioner Steve Ritter felt more comfortable setting the annual tax levy at two percent.

It needs to be submitted by the end of September.

Several revisions were made before the levy was approved. Once submitted the board can lower the levy but they can’t increase it. Commissioners seemed to feel they will still discuss what items need to be adjusted to make the two percent.

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