Planning Commission hears highway study

Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

The east side of New Prague was on the agenda of the March 22 meeting of the New Prague Planing and Zoning Commission.

Mark Scheidel of the Minnesota Department of Transportation presented a study on Highway 13/19 on the east side of New Prague. The department recently completed a planning study of the area between Scott County State Aid Highway 37 and Scott County Road 89/Le Sueur County Road 164. The study sought to define a long-term plan for the highway and other primary highways in and around the corridor. The plan defines a future configuration for the roadway and defines access locations and intersecting roadways, and other factors that need to be considered.

One result of the study is that a project originally proposed for this summer – installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of County Road 37 and Highway 13-19, has been postponed for a year. However, upgrades to the road from County Road 37 to Alton Avenue have been moved up two years, from 2009 to 2007, to coincide with the stoplight project.

The stoplight project had been scheduled two years ago by the Metro District of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. However, responsibility of that roadway was shifted from the Metro District to the Mankato District, and with the shift it was decided to take a closer look at the corridor.

The new section of road will continue to be a two-lane roadway, however there will be a center island installed throughout the area, restricting access to the road from side streets. The only crossings would be at Chalupsky Avenue and Alton Avenue. Alton Avenue would cross into Le Sueur County. A new extension south of the highway into Le Sueur County was proposed by a developer last fall and could move ahead later this year.

A later phase of the project, east of Alton to Redwing Avenue, would be coordinated with a possible realignment of that road crossing into Le Sueur County.

Scheidel said MnDOT has hired a utility research consultant to look at the second phase of the project, and to further define the project, narrowing the focus before it goes to a design phase. The consultant will work with the city in making recommendations.

In response to a question, Scheidel said the planned replacement of traffic signals at the intersection of Main Street and First Avenue in New Prague will proceed as planned this year.

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