Alexandria Highway Committee addresses deadly turnaround

The problem happens when semi trucks try to make U-turns on 34th Avenue, which is also County Road 46, by the Pilot Truck Stop.

Pilot Truck Stop.jpg
This map shows the Pilot Truck Stop, the rectangular building in the middle of the photo; 34th Avenue West, the road running east and west along the bottom; and County Road 45 West, the wide road that curves upward on the left side of the map.
Contributed map by ALP Utilities

A traffic problem that has led to crashes on 34th Avenue West in Alexandria, including a fatality on Jan. 3, is being addressed by city and county leaders.

At its Jan. 14 meeting, the Alexandria Highway Committee noted that the problem happens when semi trucks try to make U-turns on 34th Avenue, which is also County Road 46, by the Pilot Truck Stop.

Eastbound truck drivers make the maneuver after they realize they’ve missed the turn into the truck stop and they attempt to go back to the intersection that has signal lights.

Douglas County Engineer Tim Erickson, a member of the highway committee, said a round-about is planned for construction at the intersection of County Road 46 and 45 in about two years. At that time, a direct access to the truck stop could be built from County Road 46 to the truck stop.

City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven updated the Alexandria City Council at its Jan. 24 meeting about the steps that are being taken to make the truck stop area safer.


As an immediate measure, the county will install lighted barricades, with reflectors, at the three farmfield entrances that are between the signalized intersection and Nevada Street.

The barricades will be placed so that access is maintained to the fields but U-turns would be prevented.

Arlys Hendrickson of Alexandria died on Jan. 3 after her vehicle collided into a semi-tractor that was blocking both lanes of traffic on 34th Avenue.

In another highway committee item, the committee considered a request from Fillmore Village, on the east side of Fillmore, between 9th and 10th Avenues, to change the way the snow is plowed there.

Residents requested snow to be plowed to the center of the road and then hauled away, like it is in the downtown area. Currently, the street department plows and hauls the snow on Fillmore Street from 9th Avenue north to 3rd Avenue.

The committee reviewed this request but recommended no change. It said the street is not wide enough to allow this type of snow removal operations unless there was no parking allowed. The committee determined it doesn’t seem practical to restrict parking on this block because there are residences that rely on street parking.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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