City, county talk about 18th Ave. NW

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 9, 2000

Austin and Mower County officials and staffs reviewed traffic concerns along 18th Avenue NW on Wednesday.

Thursday, November 09, 2000

Austin and Mower County officials and staffs reviewed traffic concerns along 18th Avenue NW on Wednesday.

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The joint city-county meeting was held at the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority headquarters and also included discussion of the Austin-Mower County Law Enforcement Center and fairgrounds multipurpose building project issues.

Michael Hanson, Mower County engineer, reported on progress under way this week to relocate a driveway west of the Indy Lube business to the east side of the business, where it will align with a driveway leading to Cash Wise Foods.

The new intersection will be a four-way stop intersection and the existing 18th Avenue NW access to Andy’s Liquor Store and Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar will become a right-in, right-out only access.

"We’re working together with the city," Hanson said of the cooperation between the county highway department and city of Austin.

The new four-way stop intersection should be ready for use sometime before Thanksgiving, according to Hanson.

Jon W. Erichson, Austin’s director of public works, reminded all that access to Andy’s and Applebee’s also can be obtained by leaving 18th Avenue NW at the new Cash Wise Foods intersection and traveling through the parking lot.

Both the Sherwin-Williams paint store adjacent to the Cash Wise store as well as Kmart store traffic also will have to use either the right-in, right-out driveway or the new four-way stop intersection.

There will be no public improvements inside the strip mall’s parking lot and the "drive at your own risk" rules will still apply.

Erichson also told the officials that Brian Dolan, owner of Dolan’s Trimscape along 18th Avenue NW, was aware that a median prevented eastbound traffic from turning into his property when he obtained a building permit.

Dolan went to the Mower County Board of Commissioners and convinced them he needed a median cut to ensure access for customers at his newly relocated business off the busy traffic way.

"He was aware of that all the way through the process," Erichson said.

Ray Tucker, Second District Mower County commissioner and chairman of the county board, said, "It’s an interim break only. It’s not a forever thing."

That’s because major improvements to the heavily traveled traffic way are coming when a corridor study is completed. However, those improvements are not expected until 2002.

Both city and county representatives agreed that no more median breaks will be made.

"There are too many there already," Erichson and Tucker said in unison.

Also, it appears that a frontage road on the north side of 18th Avenue NW is not possible because of the number of businesses and their own driveways off the traffic way.

Now a county road, 18th Avenue NW will become a city street when the improvements are finished.

A $1.4 million federal grant will be sought to pay for some of the work, but the rest will be the county’s and/or the city’s to finance.

Also coming is a new four-way stop intersection at the new Eighth Street NW crossing of 18th Avenue NW.

There also may be a third four-way stop intersection farther east on the traffic way.