Maintaining, building and upgrading roads can be a thankless job.
Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on which roads are in the worst shape, which ones should be widened and improved, and which ones should be left alone.
So it’s no surprise that the years of major road and bridge work from the east edge of Mankato to Eagle Lake has drawn a lot of interest and serious debate.
While there can be honest and legitimate disagreement over the details, Blue Earth County and Mankato should be commended for ensuring the road system in that area will meet future needs. It is clear that the land between Mankato and Eagle Lake, along the new four-lane Highway 14, will be a prime area for commercial, industrial and housing developments.
Already, County Road 12 — the airport road — has been realigned with an interchange at Highway 14. Next year, the two major intersections on Highway 22 in Mankato will get roundabouts. County Road 17 between Mankato and Eagle Lake is being upgraded, with several roundabouts being added this year and next.
Roundabouts have been the biggest point of contention with the public and some elected officials. But as more of them appear, most motorists are being won over to their highly increased safety and the benefit of not having to wait at traffic signals.
Some have wondered why several roundabouts are being added along County 17 (Madison Avenue in Mankato), a now fairly rural, local-traffic road. But the road, and its intersections, will see a steady and increasing demand on them as development comes.
The latest focus has been back on County Road 12, with a proposal by Blue Earth County Engineer Al Forsberg to extend the road to the south of County 17, bringing it down to Highway 83, which runs from Mankato’s southeast edge to St. Clair.