Will New Prague see more roundabouts?

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

A decision about what kind of intersections will be used on the east side of New Prague is drawing closer, according to an update presented to the New Prague City Council at its meeting Monday, Sept. 18.

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) project manager Rolin Sinn and project engineer Mary Dieken presented results of an August 23 open house held at the New Prague Library. The presentation included several questions and responses individuals and groups sent to MnDOT about the project, which will run along Highway 13/19 from 10th Avenue (Scott County Road 27) to Alton Avenue.

Topics brought up at the meeting included project aesthetics and a pedestrian path. Sinn said aesthetics would be taken into consideration, and that a pedestrian path is part of the plan.

Dieken said there was a question about the state, county and city working with Helena Township on Alton Avenue, which is located outside the city limits. MnDOT will be attending the township's October 3 meeting to discuss Alton Avenue. The project will deal only with the intersection of the highway and Alton, and go approximately 400 feet north of the intersection.

Sinn said one request at the meeting was that a bypass of the town be created. He said MnDOT is not considering a bypass at this time.

There were several questions from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and how the project will affect the church, including access to the church. MnDOT said the study doesn't specifically look at each access, but once the study is completed, they can look at the access in question.

Several comments and questions were asked about the possibility of roundabouts at the intersections. There were comments from residents who prefer a stoplight at 10th Avenue and roundabouts at Chalupsky and Alton. Other residents and some business owners prefer roundabouts at all three intersections. Some of the reasons given were because of safety, since they slow down traffic and reduce accidents and injuries; cost and expenses, since they are less expensive to build and they save time by moving traffic faster.

Mayor Craig S. Sindelar asked if the majority of people seemed receptive to the idea of roundabouts.

Dieken said most were since they've had dealings with the roundabout at the intersection of Highway 13 and Scott County Road 2, northeast of New Prague, although some people still are not sure about them.

Council member Duane Jirik said the biggest problem he knows of with the roundabout is people failing to yield.

MnDOT will be finishing a traffic study on the area and will be meeting with the council at its next meeting to discuss the findings.

Wastewater Treatment Plant

The council authorized the city administrator to negotiate a contract with Bolton & Menk, Inc., for the design of the new Wastewater Treatment Plant.

New Prague City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack said that the city interviewed two firms, Bonestroo, Rosene & Anderlik & Associates and Bolton & Menk Inc., which filed a joint plan with Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc., for the new plant. City staff recommended Bolton & Menk due to their prior experience with the design.

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