Q: My whole family is wondering if we’re going to get a Hardee’s or if we’re going to get stiffed again.
A: This Hardee’s fan, who telephoned in his question to Ask Us, recalled a sign in the Madison Avenue Hardee’s shortly before it closed, telling customers to “Look for a brand-new Hardee’s soon.”
That was about a decade ago and Mankato, which had three of the restaurants simultaneously in the 1990s, has remained Hardee’sless ever since.
The caller and his family — with visions of buffalo blue-cheese thickburgers and country-fried steak breakfast biscuits dancing in their heads — apparently had a Pavlovian response to an April 21 story in The Free Press that the chain was coming back to town, planning to locate just west of the Madison Avenue McDonald’s.
After five months of salivating at the prospect, the family watched as nothing happened.
Ground work began in the last couple of weeks just south of the McDonald’s, where Free Press business reporter Tim Krohn reported in the same April 21 story that a Marco’s Pizza and Family Video store were planned. But west of McDonald’s — still nothing.
That should change soon, said Mankato Community Development Director Paul Vogel.
“Our most recent contact is they’d like to be building by the end of the month,” Vogel said of the Hardee’s developer. “So they’ll need to get their plans coming to us pretty quick.”
Q: The intersection of Blue Earth County Road 26 and Highway 22 (Wickersham Health Campus) has a signal light with a left turn signal. I approach the intersection from the east several times a week. It is only occasionally that the left turn signal arrow lights up. Usually, only the green light is visible without any turn signal arrow. This occurs even if the only cars at that intersection are in the left turn lane. The north-south left turn signals seem to work fine. Is there something wrong with the east-west left turn signal?
A: “You are correct in your observations,” said Rebecca Arndt, a public information officer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
But in this case, the absence of the left-turn arrow is intentional rather than a malfunction and is aimed at reducing waiting times when there are few cars using the intersection. MnDOT has the Highway 22 traffic signals at County Road 26 (as well as those at Bassett Drive/Highway 22) programmed to skip the left-turn phase of the signal routine at times of low traffic.
“This saves travel time because Highway 22 traffic and side road cross traffic doesn’t have to wait the additional time for the left turn phase to time out, which is about 15 seconds,” Arndt said. “The cross street left turning traffic will only have to wait for the through traffic to clear, which may be no cars at all.”
Contact Ask Us at The Free Press, P.O Box 3287, Mankato, MN 56002. Call Mark Fischenich at 344-6321 or email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org; put Ask Us in the subject line.