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BREAKING NEWS

MnDOT wants comments from Wells residents

Input on 2026 Highway 22/109 project can be made virtually

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Nov 29, 2020

Wells mayor David Braun looks over the election results as the City Council gets ready to certify the results last Monday.

While the actual project is still a few years off, the residents of Wells are going to have an opportunity to weigh in with input for the scope of the highway improvement work to be done on Highway 22 through the city of Wells in 2026.

The Wells City Council heard an update from two Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) employees who virtually attended the council’s meeting last Monday night.

Matt Thibert and Ann Wolff of MnDOT gave a report on how they will go about getting public input.

“If not for COVID, we would be having project open houses, or pop up events in the community, in order to get public input on the scope of the project,” Wolff, who is the Community Communications director, said. “But now we are going to have to virtually get the community involved.”

She said that an interactive website is being designed and will be going up on the Internet in the next week or so.

Wolff showed the council a sample of that type of website, which contained questions about some of the concerns the community and spaces for the public to weigh in with comments.

“Folks can make comments or express concerns and see what everyone else has posted,” Wolff said. “We want to see what people see as priorities, such as traffic issues, safety, and other items.”

The hope is the site will be launched late next week (after Thanksgiving) and will be up for a two week period.

“We have found most people will respond in the first week, so two weeks works well,” Wolff said. “What we want from you is to help get the word out about the site.”

Thibert, the MnDOT project manager, said a lot of people want to know what the project will look like, and the cost.

“We have yet to develop the scope of the project,” he said. “That will be developed next fall. We are looking now for community input from the public on what they think will work and what will not work.”

The Highway 22/Highway 109 project is being done in phases over several years. The first phases were completed or will be completed next year up nearer Mankato. The Mapleton to Wells segment is slated for 2023, and a segment from Wells south in the following two years. The last segment is Highway 22 through the city of Wells in 2026.

In other business at last Monday’s meeting, the council:

• Authorized an expense of $18,491 for televising the sewer lines for the proposed Northeast Broadway area project to see what kind of shape the pipes are in.

The work will be done by Empire Pipe Services. The cost will be covered by the overall project funding, if it is done, otherwise it will come out of the city general fund.

• Passed three resolutions. The first two had to do with a TIF District interfund loan and one had to do with closing several funds and transferring balances.

The third one had to do with a final allocation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Safety (CARES) Act funds the city received.

City administrator CJ Holl reported that one of the final Business Interruption grant recipients did not use the entire amount of the grant.

“There was $624.03 left,” Holl reported. “So that amount was moved into the amount designated for First Responders salary/payroll reimbursement.”

Holl said the shift meant that the city used all of the $168,988 they had received in CARES Act funding.

“I will now be reporting to the state tomorrow on our use of the funds,” Holl said.

• Learned the Festival of Trees event and Christmas Parade have been cancelled, and the Giving Tuesday event has been cut back to just vehicle drop offs of donations.

• Canvassed the official election results for the city of Wells and learned the next meeting of the City Council will be on Dec. 14 which will also be their Truth in Taxation Public Hearing.