State Senator Matt Schmit applauds the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for reconsidering its proposed reduced conflict intersection or “J-Turn” approach for remedying safety concerns at the intersection of Highway 52 and County Road 9.
“Citizens expressed their concerns loud and clear at a public meeting in April and, following steady dialogue on the issue, it’s encouraging to see MnDOT respond accordingly,” Schmit said. After hearing significant skepticism and a broader call for a comprehensive, long-term solution to safety issues, the department has decided to examine modifications or alternative proposals.
“Given the clear need for improved safety at the Highway 52 / County Road 9 intersection including a better means of crossing for farm equipment and other large vehicles, I’m pleased to see MnDOT reconsider the planned J-Turn,” Schmit said.
The decision affects the construction schedule for the area the extended turn lanes at County Road 1 will be completed this year, but additional improvements have now been pushed back to the spring of 2014 at the earliest.
Schmit sees the further development of Highway 52 as a crucial investment in the infrastructure of southeast Minnesota. “We need to recognize the Highway 52 corridor for what it is: a vital corridor of commerce linking Rochester with the Twin Cities. Based upon current use and future growth projections, we need to push for investments in interchanges and overpasses that provide this corridor with the freeway designation it deserves.”
“If we want to see development continue to flourish in the region, we need to make smart investments to ensure the safety of those traveling on our busy highways.” Schmit has been advocating for a comprehensive solution to Minnesota’s crumbling public infrastructure, including a more consistent revenue stream for well-deserving projects. “I’ll continue to work with MnDOT and local leaders to get this right,” he said.