City Council discusses problem intersection

For the 10th consecutive year, New Prague is submitting a request to Scott County for the improvement of a problem intersection, east of New Prague. The off-set intersection of Scott County Road 89 (Redwing Avenue), Le Sueur County Road 164 and 280th Street (Highways 13/19) has been the site of several crashes. The latest was a three-vehicle crash on Wednesday, June 12. (See story on page 3).

City Planning Director Ken Ondich explained to the New Prague City Council at its Monday, June 17, meeting that while the city does not have jurisdiction over the area it is considered a gateway to the city.

The three government entities that have authority over the intersection are Scott and Le Sueur counties and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

"We’re trying to be a catalyst," said City Administrator Mike Johnson about the request to add the intersection to the Scott County 2014- 2023 Transportation Improvement Program. Johnson said New Prague is trying to bring the intersection to the attention of Scott and Le Sueur counties. "If someone does not act as a voice in the process, nothing gets done."

In the letter to Scott County, the three-vehicle crash was cited as "a great reminder" for addressing traffic safety at the intersection. It was also noted that traffic volumes, especially at peak times, cause a lot of congestion and confusion.

Johnson said that early in the morning or later in the afternoon the area is not conducive to good transportation.

The city did a study about crashes in the area and found that the intersection has had more than 10 crashes. Ondich said while none have been fatalities, there was one incapacitating injury. He noted the city received a letter on February 8 of this year regarding the Scott County CIP that stated, "The county does not have enough data showing CH (County Highway) 89 and TH (Trunk Highway) 19 as a priority at this time."

Over the last five years, plans to improve the intersection have been discussed. One was a roundabout developed by the engineering firm of Short Elliott Hendrickson (S.E.H.) Inc for Le Sueur County for a 2009 HSIP application, which wasn’t selected for funding.

While the city realizes things are tight economically, future funding may be available through state or federal grants.

Johnson said to make improvements to the intersection land would likely have to come from the northwest as there is a car dealership right next to Highway 19.

Council member Pat Scripture said county representatives should go out to the intersection and look at it when it’s busy, adding that it’s scary.

Mayor Chuck Nickolay said that as part of the motion the city should send the letter to state Rep. John Kline (R) and Rep. Tim Walz (DFL).

The council unanimously approved the request.