East Grand Forks City Council members struck down an idea on Tuesday from the state to place a roundabout at U.S. Business Highway 2 and Second Avenue Northeast.
Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Transportation stopped by the most recent council work session to gauge the city's interest in such a project as part of a larger proposal to improve three intersections in 2023 along the highway.
MnDOT didn't suggest putting roundabouts at the other two intersections.
Ultimately, council members requested MnDOT simply replace the traffic signals at all three spots, improve ADA pedestrian ramps and not bother with a roundabout. Several members said they favor roundabouts in general, but not in a spot so close to a railroad crossing like the Second Avenue Northeast intersection, where a roundabout might congest traffic even more.
"In the right place, they work," said council member Dale Helms. "I'm not so sure this is the right place."
City Planner Nancy Ellis mentioned there might be problems with acquiring right-of-ways for the project from the surrounding area, which could impact properties around that intersection. MnDOT and city staffers weren't sure Tuesday night whether the state or the city would ultimately be responsible for acquisitions.
"I'm very, very concerned about purchasing right of way that would leave one of the properties (either) nearly impossible to sell on (or) not sellable," Ellis said.
Council members Marc DeMers and Clarence Vetter were the only two who told MnDOT staffers they didn't mind the state researching a roundabout on the Second Avenue Northeast intersection, as long as there was no cost of study to the city. Council president Mark Olstad said he didn't have a problem with the research, but suspected he would ultimately remain in favor of improved traffic signals.