The vision for the Highway 61 Corridor project is almost intact as the Minnesota Department of Transportation sunsets the scoping phase of the project. MNDOT representatives provided an update of their study and its recommendations to the Hastings City Council during their Feb. 21 meeting.
As they stand now, the concepts for the Highway 61 Corridor include the addition of a center median and full-size roundabouts. Drastically reducing the amount of access points and left turns is a focal point in MNDOT’s recommendations, as is creating safer pedestrian and multi-modal crossings.
The Todd Field wall has been earmarked for repairs and realignment, as MNDOT wants to widen the right turn lane adjacent to the wall and make a more pedestrian-friendly space. All on-street parking will likely be eliminated, with a main parking lot being built in the downtown area. MNDOT is also heavily considering shutting off 10th Street entirely.
To compartmentalize the study, MNDOT split up the corridor into four sections: downtown, midtown, southdown and the Vermillion River. They’ve been looking at the safety issues and traffic operations specific to those areas to hone in on the proper alternatives.
MNDOT representative Tim Thoreen, in his presentation to the City Council, explained that the project team closely referenced the City’s People Movement Plan, which was drafted in 2021, while conducting their study. They wanted to ensure that the new corridor would adequately reflect the identity of Hastings and incorporate the multi-modal transportation that the city desires.
Residents and businesses along the corridor have been afforded multiple opportunities to engage in the study process through open house surveys. MNDOT will be hosting their final open house meeting on March 7 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at City Hall where their concepts will be on full display.
Shortly after the last open house, MNDOT will construct their final report containing the alternatives that will be implemented. According to their current timeline for the project, MNDOT is anticipating construction to begin on the Highway 61 corridor sometime in 2027.
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