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Round and round we go

November 13, 2012 - Chuck Hunt
There still is a lot of concern about the three roundabouts being planned for the stretch of Highway 169 through Blue Earth. The three are part of the reconstruction project that will be completed next summer. Other concerns on the project are how the businesses along that strip will be affected during the project. Representatives from Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) were at a public open house recently and showed detailed photos of the area and how they plan on doing signage during the project. Those signs are designed to direct local customers to the back doors of the many businesses during the construction. When some business owners requested an additional sign on another street, the MnDOT people penciled it in on the plans. But, for many residents, the fact that there are going to be three roundabouts still is a major concern. There is no doubt it will take some getting used to. But, once you have gone through a few of them a few times, you get the hang of it, it seems. The key, I think, is to remember that when you approach a roundabout, you need to yield to the vehicles already inside the roundabout. The other key to remember is that you can – and should – slow down when approaching a roundabout, and when you are in one. You don’t have to race around it. This became very clear to me last weekend on a trip to Wisconsin. As one approaches Oshkosh on Highway 21, and getting ready to turn north on Highway 41 towards Appleton, one hits three roundabouts in a row. But, unlike the ones planned for Blue Earth which have some distance in between the three, these three are really right in a row. One hardly exits one of them before entering the next one. And, when in the last one, one of the exits out of the roundabout is actually the entrance ramp down to Highway 41. Going through all three and getting on the freeway is sort of exciting, and elicits a “whew,” when successfully navigated. Adding to the driver’s rising blood pressure is the fact that all three roundabouts are double lane ones, as opposed to those planned for here which are single lane. And one more point. Those three in Wisconsin are in a very heavy traffic area. Especially during rush hour times. When one approaches the first roundabout, it is a safe bet that you will have to come to a complete stop and wait for a break in the traffic before entering the roundabout. After going through these three roundabouts a couple of times, the three in Blue Earth will seem like a piece of cake. Just remember – slow down. Take your time and you’ll be able to do it.


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