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Detroit Township balks at cost of traffic light at Highway 10 and Airport Road

The Minnesota Department of Transportation wants to put traffic signals at the intersection at Highway 10 and Airport Road. Detroit Township doesn't necessarily have the same view.

Although the township will make no decision until its Tues-day night meeting, township of-ficials met recently with city of-ficials to discuss paying for the signal light, among other topics.

Total cost of the signal is es-timated at $240,000. MnDOT would pay $120,000 for the east and west legs on Highway 10. The City of Detroit Lakes would pay $60,000 for the south leg of Airport Road, and the township was asked to pay $60,000 for the north leg of the traffic control light.

Detroit Township officials declined. Township Chairman John Tigges said $60,000 is a fourth of the township budget for the year.

At a recent city finance committee meeting, city engi-neer Gary Nansen said MnDOT said if the township wouldn't pay, the city will have to pay.

Since the need for the signal light is development driven, MnDOT isn't responsible for the extra cost.

City Administrator Rich Grabow said he could see the township's point of view. He said if it took all the city's funds to pay for one item, the city wouldn't go in on the deal ei-ther.

A developer "fee" is another option discussed. Any busi-nesses in the area that would use the road would pay a por-tion of the $60,000.

Tigges said another reason the township is opposed is the way MnDOT has gone about getting the township's payment.

"Don't use the city as lever-age to get us to pay the highway cost. Let them talk to us," he said in a telephone interview. He said MnDOT should have come to the township instead of using the city as a "whipping boy."

Another topic discussed at the meeting was the proposed locomotive whistle-free zone at the same crossing.

Tigges said the township isn't interested in the whistle-free railroad crossing at Wine Lake Road.

"It's strictly safety," he said as the reason the township wasn't interested. Six years ago, two people were killed at the Wine Lake Road crossing be-fore it moved to its current lo-cation.

The people that use the crossing need to be able to hear that train horns, he said. He doesn't want any more acci-dents at the crossing.

As for orderly annexation, another topic discussed at the meeting, Tigges said if the resi-dents petitioned for the annexa-tion, he wouldn't necessarily oppose it. But, since none have petitioned, he said, the township isn't going to initiate anything with the city.