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Highway 10 projects

While the Highway 10 realignment project is underway, there are still decisions to be made along the way.

A group of Minnesota Department of Transportation representatives met with Detroit Lakes City Council representatives Monday afternoon to discuss a traffic light at Airport Road and Highway 10 and a frontage road along Highway 10, west of the city.

Project Manger Tom Swenson said because of increasing development along Highway 10, including Wal-Mart and Menards, the city should consider putting in signal lights at Airport Road.

Mn/DOT has agreed to pay for half of the signal, although it isn't required to. Traffic Engineer Janelle Fowlds said the city is responsible for 100 percent of the signal.

Detroit Township has been approached about sharing the cost, and has declined because of cost and funding.

It has been proposed that Mn/DOT pay $120,000 for the east/west portion of the traffic light, the city pay $60,000 for the south portion and the township $60,000 for the north portion.

Transportation Engineer Lee Berget said the city should take initiative to contact Wal-Mart and Menards because in the past, both businesses have contributed to the cost of signals in the areas of their big-box stores.

He suggested the lights be up before Menards opens, which is scheduled for early spring 2007.

"We haven't budgeted for this, so we have zero for it," City Administrator Rich Grabow said. "It's not realistic this year."

He said he's not a public safety engineer, but wonders if there is a need for a traffic light there.

"If you go out there once in a while, you don't need to be an engineer," alderman Leonard Heltemes said of the traffic problems and accidents at the Airport Road intersection.

"It's a hazardous situation that needs to be taken care of," Berget agreed.

A frontage road along the Highway 10 area was also discussed. Although most agreed on the need for one, they didn't agreed on who should fund it.

The existing frontage road is Mn/DOT's responsibility, but if a new one is put in, past the former Grover's property, the city will be partly responsible for it.

City Engineer Gary Nansen said Airport Road was closed as of Monday, and will be closed on and off for a couple months. He said it will give people a taste of what's to come if the airport expands and Airport Road is closed permanently.

In a few weeks, construction south of Long Lake will begin as well, messing with the traffic even more.

Limiting the access points from Highway 59 to Airport Road, a frontage road would let people travel that instead of getting on and off Highway 10 constantly.

Mayor Larry Buboltz said it would be similar to Brainerd's frontage road along Highway 371.

Although most city representatives liked the idea of the frontage road, Alderman Bruce Imholte said it likely wouldn't happen in the near future since funds are not available.

Berget said costs will only go up. For example, a project between Hawley and Glyndon was estimated at $5 million. It ended up costing $10.3 million because the cost of oil rose and bituminous doubled.

A settled Highway 10 realignment issue is that of the Kentucky Fried Chicken property at Roosevelt Avenue and Highway 10. Tuesday evening, the council voted in favor of an amendment to the land acquisition agreement.

It says the state will pay the city an amount not to exceed $1.1 million for the property. The contract formerly stated $1 million.

As an update on the current Highway 10 construction, Swenson said, "overall, it's a project that will take a few years. There will be speed ups and slow downs."

Everything is going well though and according to schedule.

He added that the closing of Roosevelt Avenue about a month ago will give drivers an idea of what to expect next summer, when the crossing will be closed for a much longer period of time.