Residents and business owners attended a Tuesday night open house to provide feedback about a key Monticello Highway 25 improvement project.
The open house took place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Bridge Room of the Monticello Community Center.
Attendees learned about how the project will affect traffic while viewing preliminary layouts, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) staff responsible for the project answered questions. As proposed, the project will extend the four-lane segment of Highway 25 south of Monticello through the County Road 106/85th Street intersection, add a traffic signal and turn lanes at County Road 106/85th Street and extend the raised concrete median and make other improvements, said Claudia Dumont, MnDOT project manager.
“Highway 25 is a principal arterial,” Dumont said. “That means it’s meant to move traffic from a larger destination to a smaller destination. It’s not meant to provide access on both sides of the road. What we want to do is limit the access points to public streets based on a distance of about a half-mile apart.” A center median will be installed between the northbound and southbound travel lanes of Highway 25, Dumont said.
A critical element of the project is the median at the Kjellberg Manufactured Home Park. According to MnDOT, that median will be closed and a new intersection with turn lanes will be constructed approximately 1,250 feet south to facilitate access to proposed new development and public streets and provide adequate spacing for a future traffic signal.
According to Dumont, the proposed project will be built next summer. Traffic on Highway 25 will be maintained throughout the construction period, she said.
MnDOT had originally planned to convert the existing the two-lane highway between Monticello and Buffalo to a four-lane expressway. Previously, Dumont previously told city leaders the additional lanes wouldn’t be built because of reduced funding. Currently, there are no plans to extend the four-lane highway. There were four options proposed for the project, Dumont said.
Staff with MnDOT’s District 3 office in St. Cloud recommended Option 3, which would extend the four-lane section through the intersection of County Road 106, then a taper back to a two-lane section.
The median at Kjellberg’s would be closed but a right-in, right-out access would be maintained.
Left turn lanes would be added south of Kjellberg’s to provide for a future full intersection that would serve undeveloped properties on both sides of the highway. Full intersection openings and access control would be exchanged for the closure of field entrances.
“Option 3 includes the installation of a traffic signal at County Road 106 with pedestrian islands,” she said. “That option also includes the grading of a trail on the east side of Highway 25.” To accomplish Option 3, Dumont said MnDOT would set up a future full-access intersection to the south. “Right now, the Kjellberg intersection serves private roads. We are looking at spacing for future public intersections. The new intersection south of Kjellberg’s will actually provide good signal spacing from School Street to the new intersection and County 106 so the traffic signals will work together and allow for good progression of traffic.”
Dumont said four governmental entities would share in the signal installation cost. “One leg belongs to Wright County, two belong to MnDOT and the third would be the city’s share.” Since the project is slated to remain in the existing right of way, Dumont said MnDOT has encountered a limited number of project issues.
The Monticello City Council will have to give its municipal consent before the project moves ahead. Dumont said a project public hearing will be Jan. 14, 2013. “I’ll present all four project layouts to the city council if they want to see them again,” she said. “Option 3 is the one we are proposing at this particular time.”