Road Re-Construction Hot Topic at Governor's Town Hall Meeting in Virginia

By KBJR News 1

April 16, 2013 Updated Apr 17, 2013 at 9:17 PM CST

Virginia, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Governor Mark Dayton was in Virginia on Tuesday, as part of his road trip called, "Meetings with Mark."

Of the various topics to ask the Governor about while he was in town, one question dominated the conversation.

"Get well on out way to the safety improvements that are needed on 169..." said Bill Erzer of Ely.

While concerns ranged from the state budget to health care, the focus was the long awaited re–construction of highway169.

"We know that what we have to do is actually start the project because whatever alignment it is, it's going to be a lot better once we get going and improve it," said Commissioner of Transportation, Charles Zelle.

The reconstruction the road has been the planning process for over 10 years now.

Many problems of the road include safety and the commissioner says they are going to carefully review all the options.

"The social impacts, the disruption to infrastructure as far as emergency is concerned... all that is going to going to be considered.," said Zelle.

Some were concerned about when the construction was actually going to happen and how it would affect business.

"Some of the Businesses in tower are really going to be affected by it because a lot of our businesses up in the area rely on that summer traffic to survive thorough out the whole year," said Erzer.

Another issue involving highways... HOW highway 53 will be re–routed to make way for mining.

"Is it a real concern that this westerly route is going to be re– routed around Virgina, around Evaleth, around Gilbert do we relocate to we reinvest, what do we do?" said Kerry Waschke Collie.

Many questions are still left to be answered about moving highway 53, but the governor says the public's input is crucial.

"We want to communicate with everyone on this issue," said Dayton.

This was the 6th town hall meeting the Governor has had so far this year.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kjr.com