MnDOT does not care. It takes one person to complain about the American flag; one person to object when a prayer is read to bring everything to a halt or a lawsuit will be brought—but when in a small town when 100 or more business owners object to the design of a busy intersection, it takes one MnDOT project manager to more or less dictate how the street will be designed. 

That person has no vested interest in the community. His reasoning is the “future is here.” The roundabouts are the future. 

Think of your children in your community. It’s evident MnDOT hates stop and go lights because they are inefficient by reducing the flow of traffic by 24 to 30 seconds one way or another. But since the city needs to replace old water and sewer pipes in one intersection at a cost to the local community of approximately 6 million dollars the MnDOT will pay for that cost if the city will agree to roundabouts rather than stop and go lights. 

That’s where they take the city hostage.

The city wants to replace the old water mains while MnDOT is building the new intersecting Hwy 59 and Mill Street. It will save the city taxpayers 6 million dollars. 

The city is thinking ahead but the MnDOT team will not pick up that cost if the city decides to keep the stop and go lights. Our city of Pelican Rapids is caught between a rock and a hard place. This is where big government no longer listens to local citizens. 

One size fits all. This is where mandates come in. 

Sound familiar? 

Cary L. Johnson 

Editor’s note: There have been over-information and mis-characterizations connected to the Highway 59-108 project, and the Press will attempt to clarify these in as straight-forward and factual manner as possible. 

MnDOT is NOT paying for the estimated $6 million in materials and labor to install water and sewer lines. Pelican taxpayers and the city will pay those costs, mostly through assessment. The cost of excavation, demolition and re-surfacing of the highways will be paid by MnDOT—at no added direct cost to local taxpayers. 

MnDOT’s long range plan called for reconstruction of 108 and 59 in about 2028, but the project was advanced to 2024—in part—at the request of the city, to more cost-effectively complete both city and state projects.

The highway right-of-way is under the jurisdiction of MnDOT. 

The sewer-water lines are city-owned. Based on very preliminary estimates, combining these projects would save Pelican taxpayers about $6 million in excavation and site preparation.