Approximately three miles west of the intersection of County Road 46 (CR-46) and General Sieben Drive in Hastings is the intersection of Goodwin Avenue and CR-46. Goodwin Ave and CR-46 have been …
Approximately three miles west of the intersection of County Road 46 (CR-46) and General Sieben Drive in Hastings is the intersection of Goodwin Avenue and CR-46. Goodwin Ave and CR-46 have been discussed a lot in 2023 due to the number of accidents that have occurred there this year with the closures along Highway 52. Monday, August 28, there was a meeting held at the United Steel Workers Local 622 building just outside of Vermillion to show the initial redesign of the intersection and to give area residents a chance to discuss the plan with county employees.
From the start of 2021 until the end of 2022, three accidents were reported at that intersection, in 2023 alone, with the intersection being used as part of the detour route for Highway 52, there have been seven accidents reported as of the most recent data ending June 30, 2023. Thankfully, all those accidents were non-fatal.
In 2018, there was a fatal accident three miles south on Goodwin Ave at 190th St. E. The accident occurred the day before Father’s Day, killing two fathers, Jared Lazer and Jon Fontaine. This accident prompted a study by Dakota County, the 2018-19 Rural Intersection Study.
The study included two-lane rural paved county roadways that are required to stop for a two-lane paved county or state highway with a 45 mph or greater posted speed limit. There were more than 50 locations studied, including the intersection of Goodwin Ave and CR-46.
After the study, the intersection was determined to be a top priority for redesign, and it was placed on the five-year comprehensive plan for Dakota County.
“We've been seeing accidents for decades at this intersection and with an increase of traffic and quite frankly, two to three times as much traffic happens on County Road 46 as Goodwin. We needed to go in and address it for safety. This design was already in the hoppers to be under construction in 2024. We've been working with the property owners for right of way and design and the design is almost complete. It's at the point now where it's designed enough to be able to let the public see what it looks like to see if there's any suggestions or changes that will impact that. Then our next step after this is to run to the goal and work on the final design. They'll send it out for bid this winter and then next spring will be part of the construction schedule to be completed by the end of next year,” explained Dakota County Commissioner Mike Slavik.
Walking around the room and talking with residents of the area, there was one predominant worry around the placing of a roundabout at the intersection, noise. People are worried about both the deceleration noise created by commercial vehicles using their engine, or jake brake, and the acceleration noise from both commercial vehicles as well as passenger vehicles with loud exhaust.
Dakota County Design Engineer Kevin Krech spoke on the acceleration noise, in particular around the acceleration of commercial vehicles. He pointed out that that the majority of the noise from commercial vehicles is in that first gear range from zero to 15 miles per hour. Noise that is already there at the intersection because vehicles need to stop to cross CR-46. A roundabout actually cuts down on a lot of that noise from a dead stop. As far as the noise from passenger vehicles and jake braking is concerned, that is something that needs to be addressed by the individual townships.
This is the tricky part. That intersection is part of two townships, Vermillion to the south and Nininger to the north. Vermillion Township has ordinances in place for vehicle noise, especially jake braking, but Nininger does not. The Dakota County Sheriff's Office is the one that would have to enforce those ordinances and because both townships do not have ordinances, it is very difficult to enforce.
Another concern was around the upkeep of the grass and ancillary areas of the intersection. Who will take care of mowing and snow removal in the winter for the path and sidewalks? The response was met with a lot of doubt because it was stated that the county will.
The addition of a roundabout to that intersection will require some getting used to, but it is something that makes sense in the long term. A full-sized roundabout such as this one does significantly reduce the severity of collision accidents.
To see the current plans from Dakota County, visit https://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Transportation/PlannedConstruction/cr46-85/Pages/default.aspx