ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Highway 371: Highway expansion through Pequot Lakes outlined

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is working with the city of Jenkins to obtain municipal consent for its portion of the $58 million Highway 371 four-lane expansion project from Nisswa to Jenkins.

1523378+highway.jpg
The plan is to expand the highway up to the current intersection with County Road (CR) 16 in Jenkins, starting in 2016. Illustration.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is working with the city of Jenkins to obtain municipal consent for its portion of the $58 million Highway 371 four-lane expansion project from Nisswa to Jenkins.

The plan is to expand the highway up to the current intersection with County Road (CR) 16 in Jenkins, starting in 2016.

If the state doesn't get municipal consent from Jenkins, the four-lane project would stop where the realigned highway meets back up with the current highway in Pequot Lakes, north of Akerson Road and south of the CR 16 intersection.

Jim Hallgren, MnDOT project manager, explained the four-lane expansion through Pequot Lakes on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at a meeting with the Pequot Lakes City Council and Crow Wing County officials. His talk included the following information:

• The Highway 371-CR 29 intersection south of downtown Pequot Lakes will remain a full movement intersection.

ADVERTISEMENT

• The highway's intersection with West Twin Lake Road will remain, but will become a right-in, right-out intersection.

• The highway alignment will shift to remove a couple of horizontal curves near the Pow Wow Point Road and Olson Road intersections.

• The Paul Bunyan Trail will shift to cross the south leg of CR 107. The alignment will shift farther up the hill to save some vegetation.

• A bridge will be built to take the Paul Bunyan Trail over Highway 371 at the north leg of CR 107. Hallgren said the Department of Natural Resources is particular about maintaining a theme along the trail, so it could resemble the bridge on Excelsior Road in Baxter.

• The new highway alignment will veer east at the CR 168/107 intersection by Timberjack Smokehouse & Saloon.

• MnDOT obtained funding for an overpass and diamond interchange with roundabouts at the Highway 371 ramp heads at County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 11 under two conditions: It had to fit within the overall $58 million budget for the project; and the Highway 371 intersections immediately north and south of the CSAH 11 interchange can't have traffic lights.

Instead, a concept known as the "Michigan U turn" will be introduced at those intersections - CR 107 and CR 112. Traffic seeking to cross the highway or turn left onto the highway won't be allowed at those intersections. Instead, travelers will turn right, get into the lefthand turn lane, and travel about 900 feet before taking a U turn to go back in the desired direction.

"We have used these types of intersections to help improve the safety of the intersection and it still maintains all movement, albeit it in a safer manner," Hallgren said, noting a true Michigan U-turn doesn't exist in the lakes area, but they have been constructed successfully in other parts of the state and are similar to 3/4 intersections on Highway 371 in Baxter.

ADVERTISEMENT

For more information on this concept, visit www.dot.state.mn.us/roadwork/rci.html and for a video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5pBnuu1Cno .

• The Derksen Road/highway intersection will be closed and access will be via a service drive that will connect Derksen Road to CSAH 11.

Snowmobile traffic that comes across on Derksen Road instead will go south to cross the highway on the new Paul Bunyan Trail bridge. Snowmobiles will continue north along the east side of the MnDOT right-of-way, which will be fenced.

Despite some layout changes that didn't affect allowed movements at intersections since Pequot Lakes granted municipal consent for the Highway 371 route several years ago, Hallgren said: "I don't believe municipal consent has to be revisited. Once it's granted, it lasts forever."

1523618+0212_jenkins-2.jpg
This graphic shows the proposed new interchanges in the City of Jenkins. North is to the right. MnDOT Graphic.

Related Topics: PEQUOT LAKES
Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Inmates in-custody in the Mille Lacs County jail in Milaca, Minnesota
Inmates in-custody in the Hubbard County jail in Park Rapids, Minnesota
Modern schools offer more than one type of education