Federal funding allocated to improve dangerous intersection

Chisago County learned last week that it will be the recipient of $1.25 million in federal dollars to make safety improvements at the intersection of Highway 8 and Pleasant Valley Road near Center City. The funding will likely be used for a roundabout.  Photo by Derrick Knutson
Chisago County learned last week that it will be the recipient of $1.25 million in federal dollars to make safety improvements at the intersection of Highway 8 and Pleasant Valley Road near Center City. The funding will likely be used for a roundabout.
Photo by Derrick Knutson

Chisago County Commissioner Ben Montzka called the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Highway 8 a “tragedy” at the Feb. 15 Chisago County Board of Commissioners meeting.
“I know of somebody, one of my former piano students, who passed away at that intersection, and I know others have lost loved ones, friends and acquaintances,” he said.
The intersection has been a trouble spot along Highway 8 near Center City, with numerous crashes over the years.
In 2009, a man traveling northbound at the intersection clipped the back of a motorcycle with his vehicle, throwing the two riders into the roadway. Both died as a result of their injuries.
Chisago County Engineer Joe Triplett said at the meeting that he had some good news about the intersection.
“I was just informed today that our application for funding for the Hazelden intersection was granted,” he told the board. “We did win a $1.25 million federal award for that project.”
Montzka wanted to know what type of traffic control would be constructed to improve safety in the area.
Triplett replied that a roundabout would likely be built because the Minnesota Department of Transportation doesn’t usually install lights in an area unless there are multiple intersections nearby with that sort of traffic control.
“You hardly ever see a signal out in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “There are other signals that follow that.”
Montzka said when roundabouts were built at intersections in Forest Lake they were initially contentious, but they’ve worked well.
“The accident severity is so much less,” he said.
The federal funding for the project is to become available in 2020 or 2021. Commissioner George McMahon asked Triplett if the county could borrow the money and then pay off the project once the federal funds are allocated to speed up the construction process.
“If you wanted to borrow for it, we’d have to do an advanced construction agreement, much like we did with Old Towne Road. … It can be the same sort of thing in this case,” Triplett said. “If we want to do it next year, we go ahead and borrow for it. We would then have to wait until those federal dollars showed up.”
Commissioner Lora Walker said receiving funding for safety improvements at the intersection is long overdue.
“I know this board has advocated for years because of the accident crash rate and deaths at that intersection,” she said. “I just want to thank this board. There’s an absolute need, whether it’s a roundabout or a signal — any kind of control, any type of improvement.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *