Editorial: County engineers doing a good job on Bridge Avenue

Published 10:11 am Friday, August 17, 2012

Where should the turning lanes or stoplights be at the north end of Bridge Avenue? That is a question that Freeborn County officials are working on, but it is not an issue that should be resolved for the sake of a single business.

There are multiple factors and multiple business interests for engineers to consider.

Kwik Trip, which hopes to build a new convenience store at the site of the abandoned Mobil station, is just one of many business on the west side of the street with a stake in this decision. There also is Hy-Vee Gas, Vern Eide Chevrolet and, let’s not forget, Arby’s. All pay their taxes, and all deserve a role in the decision-making process.

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There are also safety concerns, such as how Plaza Street going west from Bridge doesn’t line up with Plaza Street going east. And a frontage road is talked about being removed, which changes traffic habits quite a bit.

Everyone welcomes a new business. Sometimes, even competitors. Research shows that the more gas stations there are at a freeway interchange, the more likely that drivers are to stop. Having Kwik Trip and Hy-Vee Gas at Exit 157 of Interstate 90 probably will be good for both Kwik Trip and Hy-Vee Gas.

And from our interview with Kwik Trip, the company came across open-minded, patient and cooperative. They seem happy with local officials. For instance, the possible removal of the frontage road puts the station right on Bridge Avenue. That’s a plus for the company.

So let’s quash right here and now any rumor or claim that there is any brinksmanship or political fighting. So far, the public/private negotiating over the future of the north end of Bridge Avenue seems to be going quite smoothly considering the various entities and factors involved.

In fact, county engineers and commissioner should be commended, not scorned.