A need to reduce the speed? Eyota city council thinks so

·3 min read

Jun. 10—EYOTA — Traffic along the west side of Eyota on Minnesota Highway 42 is just getting busier.

That, said City Council Member Tyrel Clark, is why the city unanimously approved a resolution asking the Minnesota Department of Transportation to study a short stretch of the highway as it passes through town to see if the speed limit there should be reduced.

"This originates back from when I was mayor," said Clark, who served as mayor of the city until 2016. "We asked (MnDOT) to do a speed study, but they haven't done it yet."

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Clark said the speed limit back then was 55 miles per hour on Highway 42 as it passes along the city's west side, but statewide changes to the speed limit on highways pushed the limit to 60 mph.

The resolution asks the state to consider reducing the limit from 19th Street Southeast to the intersection at Olmsted County Road 14, which is controlled by a roundabout, from 60 mph to 45 mph.

Mark Woodward, who owns property along that stretch of road, said he's asked the city several times to see what it can do to get the speed reduced.

"Our house was run into once by a car that lost control," Woodward said. "Now with increased development with housing and businesses, there have been other accidents."

Clark said new subdivisions on that side of town are adding to the traffic congestion on Highway 42. Additionally, there are commercial developments that are increasing truck traffic on the road. Trucks going to and from the Magellan Pipeline Co. facility at the northwest corner of Highway 42 and County Road 14, and to the Kwik Trip ethanol blending station at the intersection's southeast corner have made the area busier.

And that's just the start, said Clark. Menards is relocating its nail plant from Chester Township to a facility to be built within the zone being discussed. And another 20 homes are expected to be built there within the next 18 months.

With the resolution approved unanimously at the June 1 city council meeting, the next step is for MnDOT to conduct a review and determine if a formal traffic study must be done, said MnDOT District 6 spokesman Mike Dougherty.

Woodward said in addition to the commercial and residential development, there is a bike and walking trail that runs next to the highway from near Kwik Trip to West Side Park.

"It just seems 60 miles per hour going through a residential area is too high," he said. "Our whole thing is to be proactive with regard to safety."

In fact, while the request sent to MnDOT asks for a study from the roundabout south to essentially the railroad tracks, Woodward would like to see the speed limit reduced to 45 mph all the way to Knowledge Road, which is the turn to head toward Dover-Eyota Elementary School.

Other communities, including Preston and Fountain, have major highways running along the side or through their towns and those stretches of road have reduced speed limits, he said.

"Highway 42 has increased in volume of traffic," Woodward said. "We just simply asked that it be studied."