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City prioritizes need for bypass lanes

The Breezy Point City Council prioritized its need for three bypass lanes in the city during its monthly meeting Monday night, May 6.

The council has discussed the need for bypass lanes in past meetings since the beginning of the year, and named a bypass lane on County Road 11 near Eagle View Elementary School as the highest priority.

The council would like to see a bypass lane put in eastbound on County Road 11 for those who wish to make a left turn into Pine River State Bank or Narveson Management. Neal Narveson, owner of Narveson Management, has commented at past meetings that a left turn at that spot has become confusing and difficult after last summer’s construction.

Second on the list was a bypass lane for northbound vehicles on County Road 11 turning left onto Buschmann road. Third in priority is a bypass lane for eastbound vehicles on County Road 11 turning left onto County Road 39.

There was some debate among the council whether to prioritize the need for each bypass without further research, but the majority of the council wished to pass along the information to the Crow Wing County Highway Department as quickly as possible.

Council member Otto Schmid cast the only vote against prioritizing the bypass lanes, saying he would prefer to gather data on traffic numbers, citations and accidents at each site before prioritizing which had the greatest need.

Schmid also suggested that the city pursue cost sharing options for the bypass lanes. The council directed staff to converse with the county highway department to pursue a cost share policy.

Mike Rude, the city’s consulting engineer from Widseth Smith Nolting, said the average cost of a bypass lane is $30,000.

No firm plans have been made for constructing the lanes.

Public safety

Police Chief Kevin Merschman reported 204 offenses in April, including 104 traffic stops, one traffic arrest, 27 assisting another agency, 10 medicals, 10 animal related and 40 miscellaneous.

In other business Monday, the council:

• Chose to switch to Pequot Lakes Fire Department coverage for the entire city, instead of having a portion of the city being covered by Ideal Fire Department, effective in 2014.

City administrator Joe Rudberg reported in a memo a savings of $5,440 by making the switch. The council noted that coverage and response times will largely remain the same.

• Approved the renewal of a 3.2 beer license for High View Campground.

• Approved fund balances to uphold the city’s financial policies.

• Updated code regarding alcoholic beverages licensing. Updates were made to match the city’s code with state law.

• Heard a presentation from Melissa Barrick of the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Barrick informed the council that Pelican Lake is a tullibee lake. The presence of tullibee indicates a healthy lake, and makes the lake’s watershed eligible for certain programs by the SWCD. More information is available by calling the SWCD at 218-828-6197.