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Safety concerns on 23 expand

July 18, 2012
By Deb Gau , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - New safety measures proposed for a highway intersection near Lynd were the topic of some discussion at the Lyon County Board's meeting on Tuesday. But without representatives from the Minnesota Department of Transportation at the meeting, commissioners' questions couldn't be answered.

The board voted to table discussion of a contract between the county and MnDOT for a warning and lighting system at the intersection of Minnesota Highway 23 and Lyon County Road 30 until commissioners could meet with MnDOT.

At Tuesday's meeting, Lyon County Public Works Director Suhail Kanwar presented a proposed contract with MnDOT to install a warning and lighting system on Highway 23, at the intersection with County Road 30, near Lynd. The warning system would alert drivers to oncoming traffic in the intersection, like the displays in place at the intersection of Minnesota Highway 23 and Lyon County Road 7.

"This is new equipment they're testing," Kanwar said.

Kanwar said there were questions about putting the warning system near Lynd, instead of giving more attention to the intersections crossing Minnesota Highway 23 near Cottonwood. So far, there have been two fatal crashes near Cottonwood this year. Local residents have also spoken out in favor of more safety measures on Minnesota Highway 23 near Cottonwood for several years.

Kanwar told commissioners he voiced those concerns to MnDOT representatives. But the 23/30 intersection was a higher priority based on MnDOT's safety data, he said.

Commissioner Rodney Stensrud said he didn't like the sound of the proposed contract's terms, either. Under the contract, MnDOT would install the warning and lighting systems, and cover the cost of electric hookups for them. The county would then own the systems and be responsible for their electrical expenses.

"Once they put (the system) in, it's ours," Stensrud said.

Commissioners said they couldn't take action on the proposal without having some of their questions answered. Commissioner Mark Goodenow withdrew a motion to approve the contract. Instead, commissioners voted to table the issue until their next meeting, and requested more information from MnDOT.

Later at Tuesday's meeting, commissioners approved a five-year contract with Southwest Sanitation for single-sort recycling in the county. Although the board had accepted a bid from Southwest Sanitation for the recycling in May, commissioners tabled approval of a draft contract until some questions could be answered, including whether the hauler's liability insurance was adequate.

Lyon County Environmental Administrator Paul Henriksen said Southwest Sanitation had provided an expanded insurance policy, which also named Lyon County as additional insured.

The board voted 4-0 to approve the contract, which runs from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2017. Commissioner Steve Ritter abstained from the vote.



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