Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 218 reconstruction

Blooming Prairie

Design concept development public open house

Date: September 25, 2019
Location: City of Blooming Prairie Council Chambers

Project representatives

  • Pat McGraw – Stantec Project Manager
  • Brett Grabau – Stantec/Blooming Prairie City Engineer
  • Andrew Langholz – City of Blooming Prairie Administrator
  • Richard Augustin – MnDOT District 6 Project Manager
  • Kathy Hager – MnDOT District 6 Sr. Design Engineer
  • Adam Wellner – MnDOT District 6 Traffic
  • Cindy Morgan – MnDOT District 6 Public Engagement

Meeting purpose

To share project information with the public regarding: input gathered from various stakeholders, alternative concepts considered and dismissed, alternatives chosen for further analysis, and the results of analysis completed to date. In addition, gaining an overall response from attendees regarding the final alternatives and apparent preferred alternative were primary objectives.

Meeting advertisement

The meeting was advertised in several ways:

  • A meeting notice was mailed by MnDOT to all City of Blooming Prairie addresses.
    • Note: Several were returned as undeliverable, which can be expected with such mass mailings.
  • An advertisement was published in the Steele County Times paper on September 4, 2019 and September 18, 2019.
  • A media push to subscribers of the Steel County Times went out on September 11, 2019.
  • MnDOT’s project website.
  • Flyers advertising the meeting were posted at Blooming Prairie City Hall.

Meeting format

The meeting followed an open house format with no formal presentation. A PowerPoint presentation of the project highlights to-date was running on continual loop on a large screen at the back of the room. A welcome table was positioned at the room entrance where guests were asked to sign in. Guests were provided with general instructions regarding the meeting format and a project informational sheet containing key contacts, the location of the project and a URL to the project webpage. Comment cards were available for attendees’ comments and could be placed in either the provided comment box or returned by October 9.

Five stations were set up in the room. Each station large maps on long tables with pens, markers, and adhesive note sheets to allow attendees to add their input to the layouts in multiple ways. Stantec and/or MnDOT staff were present at each station to answer questions. The stations consisted of an aerial view of the existing conditions, Alternative 1 (3-lane corridor), Alternative 2 (median delineated turn-lanes), Alternative 3 (minimal improvements), and Alternative 4 (roundabout at Hwy 218 and Hwy 30). Alternative 4 could be utilized with any of the corridor alternatives.

Comment cards Submitted during open house

  • ‘Don’t block off 3rd Ave. NE and 1st St. NE intersection completely. Build a point off of Krecji Ford or do a roundabout to slow drivers down. Koster’s Car Corner and Krecji Ford need to have a way for customers to get to us.’
  • ‘The NW corner of 1st St. NE and 3rd Ave NE should be extended out to Hwy 218. To block off that intersection should not even be an option. The café, Kosters, Krecji and all the residences on 1st St. NE need this access. The goal is not to eliminate traffic, the goal is to slow traffic from Hwy 218. School buses also exit 1st St. NE to Hwy 218.’
  • 'Instead of blocking off 1st St. NE & 3rd Ave NE we need a square corner from Hwy 218 by adding in front of car lot.'
  • 'The NW corner of 1st St. NE and 3rd Ave NE should NOT be closed off – This is a main entry for a lot of businesses in town. A roundabout should be added to slow down traffic, not turn away traffic by closing it off. This is not good for downtown Blooming Prairie!'
  • 'Intersection of 1st St. NE and 3rd Ave NE cannot be blocked off. We need a way for our customers to get to us. Slow traffic down with a point or roundabout.'
  • 'Roundabout – I don’t think this is a good choice at all.'
  • ‘Better crosswalk options and sidewalk down Highway 218.'
  • 'No Roundabouts. Sidewalk and bike on west from 3rd to Napa. Walk on Krecji Ford and Koster’s Car Corner block is good.'
  • 'Like the turning lanes. Don’t like the raised medians. Need parking for Casey’s – use their boulevard.'
  • 'How dangerous for senior citizens (or anyone) on grocery store/post office intersection. Could there be a stoplight there – or by Casey’s – 3rd St. SE? It is hard to get out on Highway 218 at almost all intersections – especially commute times between Austin and Owatonna. Turn lanes would be good too – is there room for extra lanes?'
  • 'We have a beautiful memorial for our veterans at 212 4th St. NE Blooming Prairie. We would like to work with the DOT to dry up the ditch adjoining the memorial and Highway 218. We would then maintain the ditch and mowing. Thank you.'

Comments posted to the layouts

Alternative 1 (3-lane):

  • Blooming Prairie Veterans Memorial would like to work with DOT to dry up the ditch east of memorial. We would then maintain the ditch.
  • Do currently experience sizeable vibrations from passing traffic to buildings. Concern is what will happen to the structure due to the project. Interior and exterior.
    • 2nd note added stating “Agreed!!”
  • Provide concrete in area between Cenex and DQ for longer trailers turning.

Alternative 2 (Median delineated turn-lanes):

  • Provide left turn to 4th St. NE.
  • Get rid of medians noted at SB approach to TH 30.
  • “Larger roundabout for trucks” noted at TH 30/3rd St. NE intersection.
  • Wider truck turning radius (in SE corner).
  • See Roundabout on Cedar & 26th in Owatonna.
  • Indecipherable note regarding walk in SE corner. Quit walk?
  • “Yes on sidewalk on west side.”
  • Note on west side trail – “Multi use trail bike and peds” presumably in support of trail?
  • Note on fenced access to Arkema – “keep access.” “Omit sidewalk.”
  • “Like bike path and walking”.
  • Bulb-out drawn on NW corner of US 218/1st Street NE/3rd Ave. intersection with note “right turn lane w/ stop sign.”
  • Note on closure of Hwy 218 intersection with 1st St. NE/3rd Ave. – “Like This.”
  • Note on closure of Hwy 218 intersection with 1st St. NE/3rd Ave. – “Good idea!”
  • Note along front of Koster’s Car Corner – “New car loading area?”
  • Note along west side of Hwy 218 in front of first building north of Main St. – “Parking?”
  • At Main St. intersection – “Roundabout here!”
  • Note on first Arkema access north of Main St. – “Omit walk”
  • Note near Main St. intersection – “No roundabouts. No roundabouts anywhere.”
  • Note at 2nd St. SE – “Stop lights”.
  • Note along west side of Hwy 218 immediately south of 2nd St. SE – “No parking here.”
  • Arrows drawn across southern median at 2nd St. SE depicting need to make left turns to first driveway on the west and second on the east side.
  • Note calling for extension of west side trail (noted as sidewalk) to the south to 4th St. SE.
  • Note to provide parking for trucks on east side south of 3rd St. SE.

Alternative 3 (Minimal improvements):

  • Need access to servicemen’s club from Hwy 218.
  • Extend center turn lane to north leg of Hwy 30. A note of agreement was added to the initial note.
  • Leave access to turn to go to servicemen’s club.
  • Mark designated turn lanes of Hwy 30 and stop bars.
  • Extend center turn lane north to north leg of Hwy 30.
  • Need for more lighting at all intersections throughout project.
  • Don’t close intersection. Business access here (Hwy 218/1st St. NE/3rd Ave.).
  • West side of Hwy 218 north of Main St. – Parking?
  • Traffic lights to stop traffic for fire trucks.
  • Need sidewalk all along Hwy 218 on west side.
  • Center turn lane south all the way to Bins, Douglas Miner and Miner’s Outdoor.

Alternative 4 (Roundabout at Hwy 30/3rd St. NE):

  • We like it!
  • No roundabouts please, truck driver.
  • Yes.

Comments collected by hosts

  • Owner of building in southwest corner of intersection of Hwy 218 and Main St. states that vibrations from passing trucks have been damaging the building. Therefore, he is concerned about vibrations during construction. He is considering improvements and doesn’t know if he should wait or consider temporary fixes.
  • Former Blooming Prairie Chief of Police visited to check that fatal Hwy 218/1st St. NE/3rd Ave. intersection was being addressed as he’d requested years previously. He was pleased to see the intersection shown as closed on the layouts.
  • Consider extending left turn lane to north leg of Hwy 30. When vehicles slow to make this left-hand movement, they are often passed on the right side. Co. Rd. 16 enters from the east at this point making this an even greater hazard.
  • Closing Hwy 218 to all but local traffic will be very hard on businesses such as Casey’s, Cenex, DQ and others.

The foregoing is considered to be a true and accurate record of all items discussed. If any discrepancies or inconsistencies are noted, please contact Cindy Morgan, District 6 public engagement coordinator, at cindy.morgan@state.mn.us or at 507-286-7635 immediately.