NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The North Mankato City Council is moving ahead with two items that address growing traffic volumes on the city’s streets.
One addresses the issue of traffic noise, and the other addresses using state funding for utility work as traffic volumes rise.
City officials told KEYC News 12 that the area surrounding Lor Ray Drive from Timm Road to Somerset Lane is dedicated to a future residential development.
This means the street could see increased traffic volumes in the future.
They also said developments in and around the area have meant more cars on the road.
But, according to City Engineer Daniel Sarff, the road more traveled by needs utility work done.
“It’s an older street, so it requires regrading, basically complete reconstruction as well and some infrastructure improvements," Sarff said.
That’s why Monday night, North Mankato City Council voted to add this segment, which also includes Somerset Lane from Lookout Drive to Lor Ray Drive, to the Municipal State Aid street system.
Municipal State Aid streets are a system of streets the city can spend allocated state money on for future improvements.
According to Community Development Director Mike Fischer, a few blocks away, Pleasant View Drive is experiencing another effect of increased traffic.
“They were concerned with traffic noise from Highway 14 and they wanted to know what their options were to try to address that issue. So the city began researching opportunities," Fischer said.
According to MnDOT, average daily traffic volumes in this area reached around 15,200 vehicles back in 2017. That’s nearly a 1,500 vehicle increase from 2015.
Monday, in a separate resolution, the council also voted to continue a grant application process with MnDOT for a vegetative buffer.
If funded, MnDOT would pay for trees that would help with noise cancellation in the area, and the city would be responsible for planting.
Pleasant View Drive was also a part of Monday’s Municipal State Aid street system resolution.
While Lor Ray Drive was added on, Pleasant View Drive was taken off, since the total mileage of Municipal State Aid streets is limited to 20 percent of the total street mileage within a city.
Still, City Administrator John Harrenstein said the city does plan to resurface the road within the next three to five years and maintain it.
“So it’s not a decision on whether or not roads are going to be maintained or the quality of maintenance. It’s really accessing a new source of funds for improving a road that is going to be needed to be improved as development occurs at the north portion of the city in the future,” said Harrenstein.
Sarff said another big factor in adding Lor Ray Drive to the street system is that they want to eventually pursue federal funds.
“It’d be an expensive project, and the federal funds would be necessary to make it affordable for the city," he said.
Sarff said there have been no estimates yet on the cost of Lor Ray Drive improvements.