MANKATO, MN

The East side of Mankato is exploding with new buildings seemingly being built every day.

With new businesses, comes busier roads on that side of town.

One particularly troublesome intersection sees a high number of car accidents each year.

"So today we got approval for the county and the city to enter into a cooperative agreement to perform the design and right away acquisition necessary to lead up to a construction project for a roundabout on the intersection of County State Highway 17 and Haefner Drive in the City of Mankato," explained Blue Earth Engineer Ryan Thilges.

This is a project that has been in the works for a couple of years now.  The delay occurred for a number of reasons.

"Well there was a lot of studying that was done on the intersection as far as to what alternatives were feasible," said Thilges.  "Then to come to consensus on the best solution of the intersection and then how it would be cost split between the agencies who both have respective legs of the intersection."

The cost of the roundabout will be split between the City of Mankato and Blue Earth County.

The city will pay for 40% of the cost while the county will take on 60%.

A roundabout at this intersection will make the east side of Mankato safer for drivers for a variety of reasons.

The corner of County Road 17 and Haefner Drive is considered a high crash rate intersection.  A roundabout here would provide full access to the intersection, reduce speeds and lower the severity of car accidents.

"The safety benefit is the fact that you take those potential crashes from being a 90 degree angle of incidents where it's a T–Bone type of crash that's very dangerous and you turn them more into a glancing blow," said Thilges.

With land waiting to be developed and traffic becoming busier on that side, city officials knew they had to come up with a solution soon for the safety of anyone driving in the area.

"There's definitely a known safety deficiency and the roundabout will be a tremendous safety improvement," added Thilges.

With the recent approval, the project is slated to begin sometime in 2019.

--KEYC News 12