Future improvements to Crow Wing County Road 115 (Nashway and Ojibwa road around Round Lake) is the topic of an open house from 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Nisswa City Hall.
The Crow Wing County Highway Department will provide progress updates and gather information from stakeholders regarding possible improvements.
Luke Wehseler, project manager with the county highway department, told the Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 16, that the county is in the very preliminary stage of this project.
A small part of the road — 1.4 miles — is in the city limits. Another 1.1 miles is in Lake Edward Township and 2.3 miles is in the First Assessment District. Wehseler called this a controversial project because of the mature trees, the scenic roadway and all the entities involved. County road levy funding is small, which adds another challenge.
The county says improvements are needed because of years of increasing traffic, inadequate drainage and inconsistent roadway maintenance that has left the road in poor condition.
“Just a million dollar overlay would be a poor investment of dollars. We want to address all the deficiencies,” Wehseler said.
Regarding who would pay for improvements, Wehseler said different funding sources exist, but funds can’t be applied for until there is a project.
Wehseler asked the council if it would support curb and gutter on its section of the road, saying if the city was against that, the county would eliminate that option from the city’s portion of road. He said curb and gutter would save trees and preserve the road’s rural character.
Council member Gary Johnson said he’d like to keep the road as close to what it is now as possible. Council member Jan Pierce asked that those involved keep in mind that many Nashway Road residents are seasonal and not here right now. Their thoughts must be included.
Wehseler said the highway department gathered information of existing conditions and challenges last spring, hosted an open house to gather input and started a task force that includes Pierce, Nisswa Police Chief Craig Taylor and Nisswa Public Works Director Tom Blomer, as well as other stakeholders, including the Round and North Long Lake associations, Lake Edward Township, Crow Wing County Planning and Zoning, Thirty Lakes Watershed District and the First Assessment District.
The road has two 11-foot lanes with no shoulder. Improvement options include adding shoulders, adding curb and gutter, and adding a pedestrian trail in urban sections.
“Right now it’s in the very preliminary planning stage. So there’s no need for the city to say if it wants to participate in cost sharing,” Wehseler said. “If the city is adamantly against any of the options or parts of the options, that would be removed from Nashway Road. Right now it doesn’t hurt to look at the options.”
The public can review the project material online at http://www.crowwing.us/index.aspx?NID=696.
Also available on the website will be another stakeholder survey. This questionnaire is intended to compile feedback regarding the use of specific roadway improvement components and their potential impacts on the existing setting of County Road 115.
This information will be used to guide the ongoing scoping process and provide a means to narrow the wide range of alternatives. The survey will be available Oct. 24 to Dec. 2. Paper copies of the questionnaire will be mailed along with a self-addressed envelope. Participants are encouraged to carefully review all of the available information before completing the survey.
For more information, contact Wehseler at email@example.com or 218-824-1110.
The council needs to name two roads as a result of the Highway 371/County Road 18 construction. Needing names are:
• Smiley Road from Nisswa Square to the Paul Bunyan trailhead parking lot.
The council agreed to rename that road South Main Street effective Jan. 15, 2014.
• A section of road from Hazelwood Drive to Highway 371 at the new traffic light.
Ted Dullum has requested to name that road, and Dick Carlson of the Nisswa Area Historical Society had submitted a list of early Nisswa pioneer families to be considered for naming new roads.
The council will review options for that road.
The council previously named the old segment of County Road 18 that was turned back to the city Lakers Lane. That road runs in front of Nisswa School, and a contest was held among students to rename the road.
Also, Crow Wing County is looking to turn back a portion of what formerly was County Road 18 (Main Street) by Oct. 31. The council agreed it wants patchwork completed before it will accept the road as a city road.