“This road would give us one more segment to make a full circle around Mankato,” said Stuehrenberg, who added that truckers in particular would prefer to bypass the high-traffic areas. “You can take a lot of traffic off of 22 and Madison Avenue.”
Drivers, for instance those coming from the north on Highway 22 or from the east on Highway 14, could use the extended County Road 12 to connect with County Road 41 to County Road 90. That would allow them to avoid the multiple signal lights and congestion on Mankato’s east side if they were headed to destinations south or west of Mankato.
“We’re doing this in steps,” Forsberg said of the numerous road improvements of the past 25 years. “But we’ve got a vision and a plan of where we want to end up.”
The new roadway would be more than a mile long and would be four lanes for most of the way, tapering to a two-lane highway with turn lanes as it approached Highway 83.
Along with the federal dollars already committed and the grant application, Forsberg and the County Board will be seeking other federal and state support in the years ahead. Ultimately, Forsberg expects more than 70 percent of the cost will be covered by state and federal funds with the county and city paying the remainder.
In addition to working to line up funding, Forsberg recommended the county proceed soon with an environmental assessment to determine a more precise route and work with the city to make sure right-of-way along the corridor is preserved if development projects are proposed in the area.
Board Chairman Drew Campbell voted for the grant application but said the idea of adding more new roadway makes him nervous because of the ongoing challenge of preserving and maintaining existing roads.
“That’s a concern of mine, and it’s something that’s on my mind quite a bit when I see a project like this,” Campbell said.