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MnDOT Gathers Public's Input for Temporary Solution to Nashwauk Intersection

Ryan Juntti
Updated: August 05, 2019 10:52 PM

The lives of 13-year-old Trent Casey Salminen of Hibbing and 16-year-old Aiden Patrick Hall of Grand Rapids were tragically cut short earlier this summer at the intersection of Highways 169 and 65 in Nashwauk.

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A Reduced Conflict Intersection is going to be constructed there next summer, but on Monday night MnDOT asked for the public's input to find a temporary solution.

"The better you can visually see the traffic coming before you cross that intersection, I think your odds of avoiding any kind of a tragedy like this would be so much greater," said Nashwauk area community member Harlan Tardy.

MnDOT came up with four proposals they believe will help in the short term. They will use the feedback gathered from Monday's meeting to decide which one to go with. 

The proposals include:

  • Closing the median to the intersection entirely. 
  • Realigning left-turn traffic on Highway 169, so the sight angle is better, and eliminating the left-turn on Highway 65.
  • Reducing the speed from 65 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour.
  • Doing nothing at all until the Reduced Conflict Intersection is constructed next summer.

Nashwauk community member Brian Mertesdorf believes the speed limit needs to be lowered, but by more than just 5 miles per hour.

"I think the best thing is to have the speed limit lowered to 50 miles per hour, so everybody drives a little slower there because when you come up there, and see a car you don't have but about two seconds and that car is at that intersection," said Mertesdorf.

But regardless of what the solution is, both Mertesdorf and Tardy believe something needs to be done in the meantime to make sure everyone stays safe.

"This is kind of the main artery going up north right here and there's a lot of traffic that comes up," said Mertesdorf.

"I think it's absolutely critical that we get something where there's a better opportunity to see that traffic," said Tardy.

Project Manager Sarah BaeHurst tells WDIO News that the feedback regarding the proposals was all over the board, but that a lot of people do want to see the speed limit lowered to 55 miles per hour.

BaeHurst says that option isn't preferred because it would be tough to enforce.

MnDOT is encouraging people to contact them to give feedback on the temporary solutions, and on the Reduced Conflict Intersection.

Credits

Ryan Juntti

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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