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Residents take County Road 3 improvement project concerns to county board

Making improvements to a six-mile stretch of Crow Wing County Road 3 from Crosslake to Fifty Lakes does not sit well with some county residents.

Nancy Koch of Crosslake and Ronda Veit of Fifty Lakes discussed their concerns Tuesday, July 23, during the open forum at the Crow Wing County Board meeting.

Koch said 70 residents signed a petition asking that the construction plans for the road be revisited. Construction on the road is planned for the summer of 2014. Koch said the petition was given to the Crosslake City Council earlier this month, but Koch said residents were not given a chance to talk.

The Crosslake City Council approved the road improvement plan Monday, July 22.

Koch and Veit were concerned about losing the country beauty along the road. The residents said the trees sitting along the residents’ properties along County Road 3 would be cut down to accommodate the road improvement project that includes a 66-foot right-of-way.

“Why does this road have to have 8-feet shoulders?” Koch asked the board.

Veit said, “This project will be devastating and destroy the natural beauty of the road. It will be impacted by construction and a great number of residents will not have any front yard remaining. People are already speeding and passing illegally and with this project, it will just get worse.

“I understand the county is trying to improve the conditions of the road, so we have a safer road ... The design of the road goes way beyond ... I ask you to reconsider.”

County Engineer Tim Bray said the county is working with the cities of Crosslake and Fifty Lakes on reconstructing County Road 3 from County Highways 37 to 1 and will cut down trees where the county had to acquire property for the project. Bray said the county has gone through extensive planning and meetings and both the Crosslake and Fifty Lakes city councils have agreed to move forward with the road project.

“We have heard from a lot of folks and we are aware of the petition, which were more for the city councils to act on,” said Bray. “As it turned out it did not sway their vote.”

Bray said the cost of the project is about $3.5 million and it addresses safety concerns and pavement conditions. The completed road section will have 12-foot driving lanes and 8-foot paved shoulders, he said, and the project meets state standards, accommodates the traffic volume and addresses the high volume of pedestrians who walk or bike along County Road 3.

During the open forum time, the county board does not take any action.

Commissioner Paul Thiede said the two cities agreed to the county’s design for the road and the public process was conducted. Thiede said not everyone will be satisfied with the outcome of a road project.