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NORTH MANKATO — The city of North Mankato wants to help residents who live near Highway 14 deal with ongoing truck noise by planting a hedge near the highway.

North Mankato officials submitted a grant proposal last month to the Minnesota Department of Transportation on behalf of homeowners who live near Pleasant View Drive, who hope a vegetative barrier can cut down on traffic sounds. The hedge would run close to the highway near the Lookout Drive interchange.

“When you look at the amount of people it affects and the amount of people that are supportive of the city’s effort to try to get some buffer there, that makes us want to try to find a solution,” Community Development Director Mike Fischer said.

Fischer said the city decided to step in after several property owners contacted the city. North Mankato workers measured the noise near their homes, which prompted the city to look into putting a buffer in place.

This is the first time the city has applied for MnDOT’s Landscape Partnership program. Under the grant agreement, MnDOT would pay to install the hedge and the city would maintain it.

It’s also the first time the city tried to address noise issues coming from Highway 14. North Mankato has worked on other noise issues in recent years, from Mankato’s Vetter Stone Amphitheater across the Minnesota River to loudspeaker concerns at Spring Lake Park.

It’s unclear how much the project will cost, as the state hasn’t yet analyzed the city’s request. Fischer said he expects MnDOT officials will likely offer an estimate over the winter, as the project would begin next spring if the state accepts it.

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