Wanamingo Roundabout Opens Tomorrow Morning
Wanamingo has a roundabout that is scheduled to open 4:00 a.m. Thursday, July 9, 2020. City officials say it has taken about two decades of lobbying the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to get to this point.
The roundabout is located at the intersection of State Highways 57 and 60. In addition to the roundabout MnDOT installed new roadway lighting and a shared use path on the east side of Highway 57 for bikes and pedestrians.
According to the MnDOT website, cost for the project was $1.77 million.
Over the past 25 years there have been 4 deaths at the intersection and a number of people have been seriously injured. That's why the City of Wanamingo had been requesting a lowering of the speed limit on Highway 60 through their town.
City Council Member Larry Van De Walker says they told state transportation officials the speed limit is typically lowered on a highway when it rolls through a community. Citing Kenyon, Faribault, Waterville, also on Highway 60. The speed limit is lowered through their communities.
Similar to Wanamingo, Waterville doesn't have the highway roll through the downtown like in other communities, but the speed is lowered through an intersection there.
Wanamingo current and former city council members tell us they have been given no good reason by MnDOT for their refusal to lower the speed through the community. The intersection is within Wanamingo city limits.
City Administrator Michael Boulton has been in Wanamingo 11 years and says, "We've had a quick turnaround on the (roundabout) project from when they bid it and started construction about two months ago. In about sixty days they'll have it completed and open. We're excited to have improved safety at that intersection."
Boulton adds, "Our city has grown to the south with the industrial park and some houses out there. From 600 population 30 years ago to 1100 people now means more (local) traffic in the area. The city was advocating before my time for increased public safety there. Luckily in 2014 we came to the table at a MnDOT meeting and talked about suggesting a roundabout. At the meeting they said ,'funny you were thinking that because that's exactly what we were thinking.'
From there, MnDOT got funds for the design work. In 2017 they secured money for the project to be completed in 2020.
It is a larger roundabout then you see in a lot of areas because MnDOT did have a few public hearings and asked community members what would work best. They told the transportation officials they are a farming community and with trucks going to the industrial park a large roundabout would be the best solution.