Minnesota 60 design photos unveiledPictures can be viewed on MnDOT Web site
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has released updated design concepts for the planned four-lane expansion of Minnesota 60 from just north of Bigelow to Interstate 90 at Worthington.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Minnesota Department of Transportation has released updated design concepts for the planned four-lane expansion of Minnesota 60 from just north of Bigelow to Interstate 90 at Worthington.
The new images, which can be viewed at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d7/projects/hwy60/designconcepts.html, show the proposed narrow median between Nobles County 10 and Paul Avenue, the schematic for the Lake Street bypass, roundabouts at the intersection of Minnesota 60 and Oxford Street and at the east-bound access ramp to I-90, and a proposed stoplight at the intersection of Minnesota 60 and Armour Road.
The designs will also be displayed at a Minnesota 60 public meeting hosted by MnDOT from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Farmer’s Room of the Nobles County Government Center.
Peter Harff, MnDOT’s Minnesota 60 project manager, said the concept of the narrow median north of Worthington Ag Parts and Schaap Sanitation could still be altered if MnDOT opts to purchase some land that was the former Ruder’s dump. That proposition is under review at this time by MnDOT’s lawyer, Harff said.
“Our early indications are that we need to go with the narrow median,” he said. “If we do that, there is an issue with where we widen out (the highway). That becomes an issue with the businesses along there.”
Because of the issues raised with the former dump property, Harff said he’s behind schedule on land acquisitions in that particular area of the expansion project.
If the narrow median is implemented, a guardrail will separate the northbound and southbound lanes.
At the intersection of Paul Avenue, Minnesota 60 will begin to veer to the southeast, going behind a couple of residential properties that had been slated to be eliminated with previous alignment plans.
The new route will also avoid impacting Shine Brothers recycling center at Minnesota 60 and Lake Street.
“We’ve moved the road farther south of that proposed alignment and, in the course of doing so, eliminated a couple of residential relocations,” said Harff. “The negative is we have moved the highway closer to other residences and eliminated more farmland.”
Most of the action taking place at this time is in the Morningside neighborhood, Harff said, adding that a landscaping and pedestrian committee has been formed to discuss ideas on how best to address concerns in that particular stretch along the highway.
“We have a really strong desire to slow the traffic down and to maximize pedestrian safety, while still letting the traffic move,” Harff said. “It’s quite a challenge for us, frankly.”
Another challenge for MnDOT is the railroad bridge, said Harff. Tentative plans are to construct a shoe-fly to reroute trains until the new railroad bridge can be constructed. MnDOT expects the work to be a two-year process.
Harff said the railroad bridge will be 16-feet, 4-inches above the highway, which is the same height distance provided for overpasses on interstates and state highways. Because the highway will need to be lowered under the railroad bridge to meet the height distance, Harff said plans are to install a large catch basin, upsize the piping at the underpass and include pumps to drain water away.
“People are concerned about the current flooding problems (at the underpass),” said Harff. “It would be a much rarer event that it would flood after this.”
North of the railroad bridge, roundabouts are planned at Oxford Street and again at the east-bound entrance to I-90.
“The roundabouts, I’m really excited about them,” Harff said. “A roundabout is going to move traffic so much more quickly than a signal.”
A signal light is planned at the intersection of Minnesota 60 and Armour Road.