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Trying out new crossing

MnDOT to build temporary median at College Drive/High Street intersection

Submitted photo This image from the Minnesota Department of Transportation shows what a temporary median refuge island would look like at the intersection of Highway 19 and High Street in Marshall. MnDOT is putting up a temporary median at the intersection next week, and will be looking for public feedback. If the response is positive, a permanent median could be built.

MARSHALL — The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be trying something new on College Drive next week — a possible safety measure to help pedestrians and cyclists cross the street.

Spokespeople for MnDOT and the city of Marshall say they’re looking for public feedback on a temporary median that will be installed at the intersection of Minnesota Highway 19 (College Drive) and High Street.

The median, called a “median refuge island,” will give people who are walking or biking a safe place to stop so they only have to cross one traffic lane at a time. The median refuge island being tested in Marshall would be on College Drive near Grace Life Church and True Light Christian School.

The temporary median will be installed starting Monday and be in place for about a month, MnDOT spokespeople said.

The median project is separate from the plans to reconstruct Highway 19 in Marshall in 2025, said Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, director of public engagement for MnDOT District 8. Instead, it’s a safety demonstration.

“They’re temporary projects that we can test and take feedback on for 30 days,” Lighthizer-Schmidt said. If the demonstration has positive results, MnDOT could build a permanent version.

Over the next month, MnDOT and the city want to hear from local residents and drivers. Lighthizer-Schmidt said a short online survey will be available on the MnDOT District 8 website, at mndot.gov/d8/projects/hwy19marshall. Paper surveys will be available at the Marshall city offices, at the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University. The survey is about seven questions long, with space for the public to enter their own comments.

Highway 19 has already been the focus of a lot of community meetings and surveys so far, as MnDOT makes plans to do construction work a few years from now. The reconstruction project, which is scheduled for 2025, would affect College Drive from the Marshall National Guard Armory all the way to Bruce Street. So far, some of the public discussion has been about safety upgrades at a few major intersections along College drive.

Two weeks ago, MnDOT told the Marshall City Council it plans to move forward with building a roundabout at the three-way intersection near the armory, removing the stop lights at the intersection of Lyon Street and College Drive, and putting in turn restrictions at the Marshall Street intersection near the city bandshell.

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