Hwy 22 project in Wells in 2023
Highway 22 both to the north and south of Wells is scheduled to be resurfaced in the next few years.
Two Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) personnel were at the Wells City Council meeting last Monday night to give an update on the proposed work.
The first phase is starting to be designed, according to Mat Thibert, the MnDOT project engineer.
“The construction work is scheduled to be done in 2023,” Thibert said. “It will go from a half mile south of Mapleton to the north city limits of Wells.”
It will include the Highway 22/Highway 109/Faribault County Road 29 intersection.
That intersection sparked the most discussion, especially after Thibert said the right turn lane would be eliminated.
“It is not needed and will give pedestrians a shorter route to cross the highway,” he said.
Street foreman Michael Pyzick called it a dangerous intersection.
“If there is no turn lane, pedestrians can’t see around the turning car, and that is dangerous,” he said. “You see that all the time.”
With Casey’s, Subway, Dairy Queen, the new liquor store and Heartland Senior Living all near the intersection, the council said traffic and pedestrians are going to be a concern. And the MnDOT personnel said they will take that concern seriously.
The entire project is estimated to cost $9.9 million. But there is more to come after that.
In 2026 Highway 22 from the east intersection with Highway 109 to the south city limits is scheduled to be resurfaced, along with Highway 109 from the west intersection with Highway 22 to the west city limits of Wells.
Pyzick expressed concern with trees blocking the view of traffic making turns at those intersections, and Thibert said he would take that concern under advisement.
Also in 2026, Highway 22 resurfacing work is expected to be done from the south city limits to County Road 16, south of Interstate 90.
The next year, 2027, Highway 22 is scheduled to be resurfaced from that intersection with County Road 16 going south all the way to the Iowa border.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the Wells City Council:
Approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for CJ Holl and his wife, Bridgette, to operate their business Pelican Pete’s Pistachios in a building on Second Street Northeast.
The Planning and Zoning Commission had previously held a meeting and public hearing on the matter and approved recommendation of the council’s approving the CUP.
Holl recused himself from his seat as city administrator during this portion of the meeting and answered questions from the council as a citizen.
The building is in an area zoned R-2, (residential) but is a mixed use area, Holl said. It is near the former Lampert’s Lumber site and the Brakebush facility.
Agreed to a new heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) contract which covers the 11 buildings the city owns.
Previously the city had a contract with Honeywell, but this time they agreed to go with a maintenance contract with Schwickerts of Mankato.
The cost was less and Schwickerts has a technician who lives in Wells.
Agreed to several connected property sales and purchases.
The city sold the former liquor store to the VFW for $28,000. They then agreed to purchase the new liquor store building from the city’s Economic Development Authority for $20,000 (formerly the EDA incubator building) as well as deed a lot over to the EDA.
The city had planned on leasing the new liquor store building from the EDA but decided on purchasing it instead.
“At the end of the day, this has worked out well for everyone involved,” Holl said.
Agreed to a contract to have Northland Securities prepare documents for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District for the new Bruss-Heitner Funeral Home to be built in the new business park.
Learned the city of Wells is receiving $168,988 from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
The council discussed different things the money can be used, which is to mitigate the impact on the town from the COVID-19 measures taken.
Holl said the money needs to be used before Nov. 15, and any leftover funds go to the county.
He also added they are still learning just what the funds can be used for.
“It is highly restrictive,” Holl said. “Things like purchasing equipment, personal protection items and other things are, but not just lost revenue replacement.”