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DL moves ahead with Hwy 59 plan

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Despite a last-ditch plea by Becker County Commissioner Ben Grimsley for the city to reconsider, the Detroit Lakes City Council passed a motion last week to move forward with plans for Highway 10 and Highway 59 west of town.

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Grimsley asked the city to deny municipal approval of the design, mainly due to the connection of Thomas Street with an underpass under Highway 59. He requested that MnDOT do a feasibility study on connecting West Avenue instead.

“There is still room to negotiate prices with MnDOT,” he said. “This is more their project.”

The cost of the project is estimated at $10.6 million, with about $8.1 million coming from the state and $2.6 million from the city.

The Highway 10 portion of the project includes a frontage road along the highway (similar to how the portion east of town was reconstructed and a frontage road added) fewer access points on the highway, and another signaled crossing.

The Highway 59 portion includes the underpass and then a frontage road that will connect it from Highway 10 and run out to the L&M Fleet and Supply area.

There would also be new water treatment ponds along the entire project.

This recommendation came out of a 2011 planning study, on which MnDOT and the city have held multiple public meetings. Discussion on which street to extend for the underpass has been held at each of the meetings, and the extension of Holmes Street and Thomas Street would have the least impact on the neighborhood.

Another major concern has been working with the Canadian Pacific Railroad to get trains to stop back farther on the tracks so they don’t block the crossings for such extended periods of time.

Many people have said at the meetings that this project would be a waste of money if the trains weren’t stopped earlier because people would lose patience and not use the underpass anyway.

MnDOT and the city are still in talks with the railroad, but nothing has been accomplished yet.

“It’s almost an impossibility to change anything (with the railroad),” resident Dave Brainard said.

The Highway 10/59 construction is slated to start in 2015.

Alderman Jamie Marks Erickson said that the city and MnDOT have held multiple meetings on the project and “we have not ignored input” but that it was time to move forward with the plans.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.

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