Jurgens to fight for 35 mph on Highway 316
Hastings' new State Representative, Tony Jurgens (R-Cottage Grove), announced late last week that he will make an effort to keep speed limits as they are on Highway 316 in Hastings.
MnDOT announced earlier this year that it would raise speed limits on the road from its current 35 mile-per-hour limit to 40. The change would affect the portion of the road between Highway 61 and Tuttle Drive.
According to a news release, Jurgens is scheduling a meeting with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) officials to discuss the situation. A date for the meeting has not yet been announced.
"I have been receiving many phone calls and emails about MnDOT's decision to increase the speed limit on Highway 316 from Highway 61 to Tuttle Drive," Jurgens said. "These same concerns were being brought to me when I was door knocking last summer. It's a well-traveled road that's difficult to access from a side street and in spots has no place for people to walk. Increasing the speed limit here is just asking for trouble."
The speed limits are expected to take effect this spring, and the stretch of Highway 316 Jurgens references will jump from 35 to 40 mph. A number of other speed changes in Hastings and near the city limits will also take place at this time.
Jurgens said he is pleased the City of Hastings has been working closely with MnDOT, noting in particular that its input was critical towards maintaining the speed limit near Roadside Park along Highway 55.
"I think city officials were wise to fight these changes, particularly to maintain the 35 mile an hour speed limit on that stretch of Highway 316," Jurgens said. "At this point, I think it's important for me to reach out to MnDOT and see if there's anything more that can be done. Increasing the speed limit won't increase safety in this area. In fact, I'm convinced that doing so will only make it more dangerous."
MnDOT originally intended to raise the speed limit to 45 mph on Highway 316, but instead chose the 40 mph mark to address the city's concerns while still meeting its own obligations for the roadway.
The change to speed limits on Highway 316 is part of a wider shift on state roads in Hastings. MnDOT has planned a number of speed limit changes here.
On Highway 55, the posted speed limit will be 55 mph between General Sieben Drive and Jacob Avenue (currently 45 mph).
On Highway 61, the speed limit will be 35 mph from the Mississippi River bridge to Highway 316 (currently 30 mph), and 60 mph south of Hastings city limits (currently 55 mph).
On Highway 316, the speed limit will be 40 mph between Highway 61 and just north of Tuttle Drive (currently 35 mph); south of city limits, the speed will increase to 60 mph (currently 55 mph).
A section of Highway 55 between Vermillion and Prairie streets, which came under debate last year, will remain at its current 35-mph posted speed limit.