Q: Why did they decide to close the Blue Earth County Road 86 intersection to U.S. Highway 14? The roundabout seems to be further driving to me to get onto 14.
A: County Road 86, the first north-south road west of Eagle Lake, does provide a more direct route to Highway 14 for some drivers in the area. But last fall, a new interchange was completed one mile to the west at County Road 12. The 12/14 interchange has an overpass, exit and entrance ramps, and a pair of roundabouts serving the ramps.
With the opening of the interchange, travelers on County Road 86 are now required to turn right when reaching Highway 14 — they can’t pass through the four-lane expressway or pass through the first two lanes and turn left.
That’s the point of closing the full intersection at 86 and 14 — ending the dangerous task of crossing four lanes of 65-mph expressway and ending the tricky left-hand turns required when an at-grade intersection includes a high-speed four-lane highway, said Rebecca Arndt, a public affairs coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
“We have had a history of crashes there,” Arndt said of the old intersection, and many of them were T-bone crashes that are most likely to cause severe injuries or death. “... Now you’ve got an interchange (at County Road 12) to access the highway, which is much safer.”
Drivers can expect to see nearby at-grade intersections closed anytime a new interchange is added to an expressway.
“We’re doing that everywhere we get the opportunity to because we’re trying to make things safer,” she said.
Q: There seems to be new renters in downtown Mankato with a dog(s). They are letting them relieve themselves on the sidewalk in the 600-700 block of South Front Street. I thought there was a city ordinance prohibiting this. This isn’t the only place I’ve noticed this. What is the fine for this type of violation?