The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Editorials

December 3, 2013

County, city doing well on growth plans

Why it matters: Planning roads for future growth to the east of Mankato is a key responsibility for local governments.

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The extension project has gotten strong support from Mankato officials.

Forsberg and the city see the extension as a necessary link that will eventually disperse some of the traffic that now mostly uses Highway 22 through Mankato.

But some county commissioners are concerned that the extension will mean too much traffic, including heavy trucks, will use the extension to get onto County Road 41 and then continue on to County Road 90 that bypasses Mankato to the south. Residents along County 41 fear the now lightly used road could become congested and dangerous.

Commissioners concerns are legitimate. They are elected to consider their constituents concerns along with the overall needs of the county and motorists. Balancing those sometimes opposing needs — not to mention the major costs associated with road projects — isn’t easy.

But Forsberg has a reasonable response to concerns about semis using County 41. He notes semis would have to descend and climb out of two river crossings and are unlikely to use the road as a shortcut to County 90.

Despite some disagreements, the important thing is that the county and city have taken a serious approach to planning into the future. Many local governments have failed to do that and have been left with nightmarish traffic problems when growth outstripped transportation systems.

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