Extra lane to be added on Highway 29 North
A re-striping project will add a northbound lane to Highway 29 North in Alexandria.
It should also end the problem of vehicles trying to merge into one lane after turning left onto Highway 29 (Nokomis Street) from 3rd Avenue East.
The Alexandria City Council unanimously approved the new layout, which is set to take place next summer.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) project will begin 300 feet north of Highway 29's intersection with Highway 27 - a busy corner that includes Burger King and Tiremaxx.
It will continue north, past the "Y" split with County Road 42, to about a quarter-mile beyond the intersection with McKay Avenue.
Right now, that segment of Highway 29 has three lanes - a northbound lane, a southbound lane and a center turning lane. The new layout will create an additional north-bound lane.
The road won't be physically widened, however. MnDOT will just re-stripe the existing roadway, City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven told the council.
A mill and overlay project is also planned to take place on the same part of Highway 29 North at the same time.
No city money will be involved in the project, Schoonhoven said.
Council members expressed support for the extra lane. They also liked the fact that drivers will now be able to turn left from Highway 29 North onto Roberts Street, the entrance to McDonald's, without backing up traffic behind them.
Sara Carlson noted that several residents have told her that vehicles turning left into McDonald's have prompted some drivers to illegally pass them on the right - a lane reserved for right turns only. Having a separate left turning lane for drivers to use should stop that from happening and reduce the chances of an accident, Carlson said.
Schoonhoven also made the council aware of a big project that is scheduled, at least for the moment, to take place in 2014.
That's when MnDOT plans to reconstruct Broadway from 3rd Avenue to 8th Avenue.
"It's only at the very beginning stages now," Schoonhoven explained, adding that no council action was required at this time.
Mayor Dan Ness noted that when Broadway Street is torn up, it would be a good time to replace under-sized watermains.
Schoonhoven told the council about one other item that came out of the city's highway committee meeting - a request for parking restrictions on Van Dyke Road.
A portion of the street, near 715 Van Dyke Road, is very narrow and parking is occasionally a problem, Schoonhoven said.
The council authorized Schoonhoven to contact property owners along the road to get their input if parking restrictions should be put in place.