KASSON — The city of Kasson and the Minnesota Department of Transportation have long agreed that Minnesota Highway 57 will get two new roundabouts when the road is reconstructed and repaved in 2022.
And no requests for a change – no matter who is making that request – is likely to change that, said Kasson Mayor Chris McKern.
According to MnDOT plans, the state intends to change the Highway 57 intersection at Main Street to a mini-roundabout from the four-way traffic lights that currently control the intersection. Furthermore, a few blocks south at the Highway 57 intersection with Dodge County Road 34/Veterans Memorial Highway, MnDOT plans to install a second, larger oval-shaped roundabout. Between the two roundabouts lies the at-grade railroad tracks that run through Kasson.
All of this, McKern said, has been presented and explained at public meetings several times.
"Council moved forward with this over a year ago," McKern said Wednesday night at the Kasson City Council meeting. "It’d be not in the best interest of the taxpayers of the city of Kasson to change this at this point."
That didn't stop the Mantorville City Council from sending a resolution up the road to its counterparts in Kasson stating the folks in Mantorville who travel through Kasson would prefer to keep the traffic signals at Main Street and add traffic signals at County Road 34.
"It's nice of them to send their resolution, but unless they want to pay for (any changes to the plans), they should worry about their own city," McKern said.
McKern said when initially presented with the plan to put two roundabouts on the busiest north-south road in his town, he wasn't convinced it was the right idea.
"I'm still not 100 percent convinced," he said.
But the mayor added that road engineers have explained why roundabouts are the best option, and how the two roundabouts will improve the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, and will help keep traffic flowing through town. Furthermore, the concern that trains will constantly back up traffic at the roundabouts has been explained by those MnDOT engineers.
However, anyone who still has questions or concerns, McKern said, can attend a public forum on the project at 6 p.m. Sept. 30 at Kasson-Mantorville High School.