Fairmont asks for input on Lake Avenue work

FAIRMONT — Reconstruction of Lake Avenue from Fourth Street to Downtown Plaza in Fairmont is scheduled for 2020, and the public will have an opportunity for the next 10 days to complete an online survey seeking input on the design.

“We want to get the public’s input on traffic safety, the intersection layouts, pedestrian and bicycle traffic. All those pieces are part of the decision-making process on our final design,” said Troy Nemmers, Fairmont city engineer/public works director.

A link to the survey can be found on the city’s website, www.fairmont.org. Click on “2020 Lake Avenue Improvements” under Popular Links. The survey, which will be available through June 23, takes only a few minutes to complete and offers an exhibit of what the project entails.

Nemmers said residents should be aware that the new construction will change the current lane configuration from four lanes to two lanes plus a center turn lane. This follows the same format as the new section of Lake Avenue north of Fourth Street.

Future plans are to continue the three-lane pattern east to the State Street intersection when improvements are made to Blue Earth Avenue. Nemmers said that project is not on the immediate street improvement timeline. The city’s new repair process of milling out bad spots in the road and replacing the area with a pavement section should buy a couple of additional years for Blue Earth Avenue. He added that redoing all the sidewalks and pedestrian crossings to conform with ADA requirements significantly increases the overlay cost.

One other specific area of the survey that might surprise motorists who travel the downtown area frequently is the redesign of the Downtown Plaza/Blue Earth Avenue intersection. The survey states that the traffic signal at that intersection is aging and no longer serviceable. Also, the traffic volumes at that intersection do not meet current criteria for a traffic signal.

Three options are offered: a mini roundabout, a single stop sign only for northbound traffic or leave the intersection as it is.

“After we gather all this information, we will bring a configuration of the road layout and intersection layout to present to the city council as the final design recommendation,” Nemmers said.