KEYC - Mankato News, Weather, Sports - - Roundabouts planned near the River Hills Mall

Roundabouts planned near the River Hills Mall

Posted: Updated:

If you've ever traveled Highway 22 in Mankato and crossed the intersections of Adams Street and Madison Avenue, you know how busy that stretch of road can be.

Now put this into perspective. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) is planning to put roundabouts at both those intersections--one at Madison Avenue and state Highway 22, and another at Highway 22 and Adams.

"These happen to be two of our worst intersections for crashes for frequency and severity of crashes," said Rebecca Arndt of MNDOT.

"The way I see it going is having a bad effect on the business," said Jennifer Kromer, Five Guys General Manager in Mankato.

Kromer says last summer's construction on Madison Avenue took a bite out of their bottom line, and they don't have the appetite to go through it again.

"Right when it started, our sales weren't too bad, but as the project went on, we drastically saw it decrease," Kromer said.

Officials say the plan calls for building the roundabouts in 2014.

"It will take most all of the 2014 construction season," said Arndt.

While MNDOT says a roundabout at Hwy 22 and Adams Street would cut down on crashes and improve traffic flow, some businesses in the area say the move would adversely affect their operations."

"I think it's going to kind of hurt businesses up in this area," said Kromer.

"We still have many steps to go on designing this, and working with the public and the businesses, but we do want to ensure everybody that those businesses will stay open--we will maintain access," said Arndt.

Bottom line, MNDOT says the roundabouts will make the two intersections safer.

"When you're in a roundabout, you literally can't T-bone someone, so it's dramatically going to reduce the number of crashes," said Arndt.

But Kromer says she has other thoughts about the planned roundabout construction.

"I think it would almost hurt the traffic--it's a really busy intersection, and it seems like it would almost cause more accidents in a way," said Kromer.

MNDOT says the pricetag on the two roundabouts rings in $6-7 million. Officials say the plan calls for building both roundabouts with multiple lanes.