Jan 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The St. Cloud City Council voted Tuesday to go ahead with plans to build two new roundabouts along a busy stretch of Stearns County Road 120 near the site of this summer's massive Highway 15 interchange project.
Council members voted 4-3 backing the proposal, which would position roundabouts at CentraCare Circle and Stearns County Road 134.
The split vote came after city staff were unable to broker a solution that would settle concerns over access to the Hennen's Furniture store at the intersection of CR 120 and Hwy. 15.
Under the proposal, the two entrances to Hennen's Furniture will become right-in and right-out only, meaning vehicles leaving the store won't be able to make a left turn onto CR 120 to head west. After the topic was discussed by the council in November, meetings were held between Hennen's and CentraCare representatives to come up with a solution to the access problem.
NEW ROUNDABOUTS PLAN: See St. Cloud city plans for the new roundabouts planned for County Road 120 in 2012
However, city staff reported Tuesday that CentraCare would not agree to either a public or private access road west through their property as a viable option.
"It doesn't fit with their overall campus design, it doesn't meet their needs. They've been honest," St. Cloud city engineer Steve Foss said. Foss said the city studies indicate the hampered access would impact about 10 percent of Hennen's customers trying to head west on CR 120.
Council members George Hontos, Nancy Gohman and Jeff Goerger all voted against the proposal, citing the impact on Hennen's.
"We're doing roundabouts specifically for (CentraCare) and in a lot of ways, we're just totally disregarding the impacts that's going to have on another piece of property," Hontos said. "Stearns County is just trying to get some traffic flow to improve the situation and I'm sympathetic to that, but I still have some real reservations on the impact of the one property."
Foss said that while the city acknowledged Hennen's uncomfortable position, the traffic capacity, safety and local access issues addressed by the project all played into their decision to continue backing the construction.
A final cost-sharing arrangement involving the city of Sartell as well as Stearns County were still under discussion.
Once the cost structure is approved, construction was expected to begin by early summer, just ahead of the start of the Hwy. 15 diverging diamond interchange project next fall.