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Open house hosted on U.S. 59 project

WORTHINGTON -- Bike lanes may be coming to the busiest part of Oxford Street in a resurfacing project planned for 2017. In an effort to slow down traffic speeding in and out of Worthington on U.S. 59, developers want to narrow the street, decreas...

WORTHINGTON - Bike lanes may be coming to the busiest part of Oxford Street in a resurfacing project planned for 2017.
In an effort to slow down traffic speeding in and out of Worthington on U.S. 59, developers want to narrow the street, decrease the speed limit and possibly add biking lanes.
“I think people would bike a lot more if they had the option to,” Worthington Councilman Larry Janseen said.
Developers said during Wednesday’s open house for Project Highway 59 that adding the lanes would be contingent on public support.
“We don’t want to build bike lanes if people don’t want them, and we also don’t want to be taking away business from shops along the street if they rely on the street parking,” Project Manager Forrest Hasty said.
Developers from the Minnesota Department of Transportation have devised three plans: one without the bike lanes and street parking; another with the lanes and without any street parking; and the last with street parking and the bike lanes running between parked cars and traffic. They hope to have more public interest in the project to help decide which design to use.
A bike trail is already in place at the roundabout at Interstate 90 and U.S. 59, but it ends and flows into Oxford Street.
The U.S. 59 project will also retouch pedestrian ramps, add push buttons for pedestrian crossways and adjust traffic lights. The work will help the city become more compliant with the American Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in transportation, public accommodation and other sectors.
The construction will also fix minor utility issues, and Hasty added that the project will fix some of the utility problems. A larger project due in 2025 will address most of the issues along the road.
“We would be taking out two to four inches of asphalt and putting it back in,” he said, “so this project would take around two months - once we find a bidder for it.”
The 2025 project will completely reconstruct the street and require crews to dig six to eight feet, enabling them to fix the major utility problems, he added.
Developers hope to host public meetings for Project Highway 59 in the future.

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