A couple of years ago, the Independent published responses to our weekly poll questions in print, on the Opinion Page. After a while, the responses started to get out-of-hand and off topic, so the kibosh was put on their print publication.
Of course, we were criticized for that decision, much like many newspapers are ripped for allowing the public to anonymously post their feelings on Web sites in the first place.
In the spirit of compromise, I give to you a sampling of responses to a story the Independent published earlier this week concerning road construction at the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and Minnesota Highway 23 - something that's become a real sore spot to anyone who owns a vehicle. The number of responses to this issue reflects how many have been affected by the construction, and since not all of you have access to the Internet, here's a look at what the readers are saying:
As for the stoplights at the 59/23 intersection, the city wanted that, not MnDOT, partly at the behest of Wal-Mart. But MnDOT deserves big-time blame for three things: 1) For closing all the other access points along 23 at the same time so you can't cross at any intersection. 2) There is no detour route, you're just funneled through this crazy intersection. 3) Lack of signage to warn motorists of delays.
When 23 was closed last year between Marshall and Cottonwood, there were many signs telling you how to get to the businesses affected, plus MnDOT even built some temporary gravel roads to allow farmers access to their fields and farm places. Couldn't something like that be built to deliver traffic across 23 in Marshall? Just crazy that you cannot cross 23 anywhere at all, except that one intersection. Duh. You're going to have a bottleneck of headache proportion.
I am glad they are discussing this and putting in some changes. But, again, I ask - what is the re-course for the lack of planning and inconveniences and lost commerce as a result? How about suspending the MnDot Engineers on this project for a week or two without pay??? There needs to be consequences!
I agree it's astonishing that there are no signs identifying alternate routes to affected businesses. This entire project reeks of being thrown together as hastily and with as little forethought as possible. And I agree that the responsible individuals should be losing their jobs over this.
So you have experienced some small delays at a intersection in a road construction zone. Who would have guessed that. Now you think people should lose their jobs because you have to wait a few minutes at a stop sign. Big deal get over it. You are all a bunch of cry baby complainers!!
I am only inconvenienced by this project in minor ways. It takes me longer to get to Walmart/Shopko etc. I have a garden at the public lot that will be a challenge to access. I can't imagine what families in the trailer park or in the new Carr addition must be going through - or what the contingency for emergency vehicle access must be? Can you imagine if a medical emergency would happen in either of these two neighborhoods? Or simply trying to get to Hy-Vee? I can make the choice to shop County Fair to avoid the whole mess.
I, like most everyone here, am somewhat perturbed and inconvenienced by this mess, but I don't think I could say much more than what has already been said. BUT, is it just me or are there a LOT of terrible drivers in this town?? A big part of these traffic issues are obviously due to construction, but a fairly big share can also be blamed on the morons around here who shouldn't even be allowed to drive!
Anytime local businesses are hurt financially by road construction, it is a problem. We're a society about convenience, and if we can go to a different store/business to get the services/products we need without the hassle of traffic, construction, etc -- we'll do it. Unfortunately, MnDot does nothing in its planning to accommodate the businesses in these areas -- which is deplorable. At the least, these businesses should receive some financial compensation from the state for lost business because of poor planning.
MnDOT did not anticipate the congestion? Why not? Perhaps because they feel we are out here in no-mans land and there would be only a few farmers out on the road. Don't those people do traffic counts? We sat in line for almost an hour last Friday to get out of the Culver's lot. Ridiculous.
I think the additional openings on Lyon Street and Saratoga have helped a little to alleviate traffic down hwy 23. But, this has not done anything to alleviate the traffic crossing hwy 23. The intersection of 23 & 59 is the worst. Why they didn't leave Saratoga open for crossing is beyond me. It is currently a 3-way stop. They should have made it a 4-way stop open for crossing. With the construction of Windstar Rd, this would have helped with some of the traffic on 59...and would have cost less than the $50,000 for temporary traffic signals.
I drove to Walmart (Thursday), at noon (gasp). And guess what? I had maybe five minutes of delay, tops. I'm thinking MnDOT has made some very positive changes - thank you! Hopefully the delays of the past week can be chalked up to pains of progress.
On a side note, it's good to see readers for the most part sticking to the issue on this one; it's obviously a topic that got under everyone's skin. Web site responses usually turn into back-and-forth jabs at each other, but in what could be looked at as a sign of solidarity and the putting down of gloves, readers refrained from that. We all felt each other's pain on this one; look around - no one is exempt from 5 o'clock gridlock.
Hopefully by venting - and by the installation of traffic signals that actually turn green - some of your stress has been relieved. If not, you can always complain about the weather.