Hwy 316 project will see some changes

Posted 3/16/22

By Brooke Shepherd The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has adjusted the road renovation project on Highway 316 in Hastings, Minn. Road renovation began last summer, and according to …

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Hwy 316 project will see some changes


By Brooke Shepherd

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has adjusted the road renovation project on Highway 316 in Hastings, Minn.

Road renovation began last summer, and according to Bryant Ficek, MnDOT South Area engineer for Dakota County, the major construction is complete. However, with feedback from the community, MnDOT is making some changes.

As a result of the project, Highway 316 has compact roundabouts and narrower roadways to help slow speeds. The compact roundabouts require larger trucks to partially drive over the median while maneuvering through. Ficek said that this design is something that MnDOT has not worked with before.

Ryan Stempski, director of public works and the city engineer, said that in some areas, trucks were having to go over the curb while making turns, leading to increased wear on the tires. MnDOT agreed to widen some of the turns. Ac-

Courtesy of Bryant Ficek.

cording to Ficek, one of the biggest changes will be on 31st, where some of the truck movements did not occur as expected.

“I know MnDOT is going to see this through and re-open the road with these new enhancements,” said Stempski. “They’re relocating some signs that are in the way, they’ve got the final striping plan to put down, which includes striping the center roundabout to deter people from driving over it. We’ve gotten a lot of complaints about that too.”

Ficek said MnDOT wanted this to be a successful project for Hastings, and he found the feedback from the community and businesses very beneficial.

“When we do this in another area, we can take all these lessons learned here and apply it so that it doesn't come at the end of the project, it's all upfront,” said Ficek.

Stempski said that last summer there was a bit of a rush to reopen the road, since drivers were using detours. The chamber of commerce became involved during the planning process. Initially, there wasn’t a way for local businesses to provide feedback to MnDOT.

Kristy Barse, the chamber of commerce president, said the chamber reached out to public works to help facilitate the project. Barse said it was clear there was concern from businesses who had semi-trucks or relied on delivery of their products because one of the compact roundabouts was located at the entrance of an industrial park.

“I wish that we would’ve had a stronger voice in the planning process,” said Barse. “I think all of the concerns that we brought up during those several meetings became a reality in the end and that was a little frustrating, but on the flip side, they were willing to make the adjustments that we asked for and that’s a positive thing.”

Barse said she collaborated with Solid Staging, a local trucking company, to collect footage on Highway 316. This way, MnDOT could see the specific challenges drivers faced and then put together a plan to rectify the issues.

“The MnDOT team agreed to everything we asked for and actually more; they are expanding this turn lane further than we had even anticipated and moving fire hydrants and infrastructure, so we’re really pleased,” said Barse.

Stempski said that in the past, MnDOT was sometimes challenging to work with, but in the last several years they have been more receptive to feedback at the local level. He said this collaboration has been great.

Public works and MnDOT will be working together again on the next construction project, which is a study on Highway 61. Stempski said it will take about a year to determine what improvements are necessary there. Barse said the Hastings Chamber of Commerce will also be involved in the process to ensure it’s conducive for commercial businesses and residence.

Highway 316 is scheduled to conclude in June, though this date is weather dependent.