Right-turn lane not advised for Kwik TripPublished 10:40am Thursday, August 23, 2012
The firm hired to review the north end of Bridge Avenue is recommending against a right-turn lane off the street into the proposed Kwik Trip gas station.
Access to the proposed $5 million development has been a focus of discussion within the last month as Kwik Trip officials requested the lane for cars and semis coming into the property. However, a new access point on Bridge Avenue has not been granted for at least the past 23 years.
“If possible, the site should be configured such that this partial access is not necessary,” states a report completed this week by Minneapolis-based SRF Consulting Group Inc. “Although the property owner may have site limitations for developing this parcel, it is the county’s responsibility to maintain the safest and most reliable corridor possible.”
The report suggests Kwik Trip officials put together a detailed traffic impact analysis for the site to determine how the proposed access point and increased truck traffic would interact with the road network.
Freeborn County Engineer Sue Miller said county officials would be in a better position for granting the turn lane if the company is able to outline true traffic impacts.
Freeborn County officials have been waiting for SRF’s report before making any decisions on the issue. The report was released this week, and highlights of it were presented at the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday. There will be a joint Albert Lea City Council and Freeborn County commissioners meeting to discuss the Bridge Avenue issues Aug. 30.
SRF Consulting Group was hired for about $17,000 to complete the study, which includes updated traffic counts. It also looks at possibilities for a traffic light at the road’s intersection with Sykes Street and rerouting Plaza Street.
Why the recommendation?
The report states providing the right-in access to the Kwik Trip property may result in rear-end collisions because southbound trucks going to the development would have to decelerate in the only southbound lane on the street.
It states the length of the right-turn lane would need to be greater than 300 feet to give a vehicle, especially a semi, traveling an average of 36 mph time to safely decelerate and turn into the site at a reasonable speed.
The proposed access is about 280 feet from the Bridge Avenue and Sykes Street intersection.
The proposal stressed the importance of county officials making decisions consistent with the county’s access management plan to be uniform for future developers.
The report calls for rerouting Plaza Street to connect to Hi Tec Ave. and Sykes Street.
It also calls for installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Bridge Avenue and Sykes Streets under one of the following conditions:
• The intersection meets warrants for one.
• Development along Sykes Street outpaces current anticipated growth of 2 percent per year.
• When a detailed traffic impact analysis indicates the light is warranted.
The report agrees with proposed access points for Hy-Vee Gas.