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Local chamber Governmental Affairs Committee announces Highway 65/Main Street working group

The Governmental Affairs Committee of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, met and discussed the U.S. Highway 65/Main Street reconstruction proposal. The plan is being proposed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the city of Albert Lea.

Proposed changes include flood mitigation efforts near Main and Clark streets and other significant changes to Main Street access from Garfield Avenue to Prospect Avenue, including the total removal of the Prospect Avenue median. Other traffic impacts for the duration of the project will include detours and single lane closures.

In the last few weeks, the chamber has been contacted by some members and others in the community about the project.

“While the DOT has been trying to inform businesses along Main Street, many are either unaware of the project or have questions about the project,” said Shari Jenson, executive director of the chamber. “This project will have major impact on our Main Street and some side streets and could impact the ease of accessibility to some of our businesses. Our businesses and community need to be aware.”

To better inform chamber and community members, the chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee has formed a working group to study the project and increase awareness of the proposed changes. 

“We need to be a conduit of information, and I believe this committee and the working group are great resources in accomplishing that,” Jenson said.

The next meeting will be held via Zoom at 9 a.m. Thursday; business and community members are invited to attend. Tom Austin, District 6 project manager, and Steve Jahnke, public works director, will be on hand to answer questions. To participate in the working group or be included on email updates on the project, email director@albertlea.org or call the chamber at 507-373-3938. 

Full Highway 65/Main Street project details, including a timeline, map and traffic study, can be found on the DOT website at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/d6/projects/hwy65-albert-lea.