Brown Co. speed study hearing targets N. Highland

Commissioner Borchert opposes any potential increase

NEW ULM — By a 4-1 vote Tuesday, Brown County Commissioners approved a June 18 public hearing date for input on a proposed speed study for County State-Aid Highway (CSAH) 13 (North Highland Ave.).

Commissioner Dave Borchert cast a dissenting vote on the request approved on a motion by Commissioner Scott Windschitl, seconded by Tony Berg that set the public hearing at the beginning of the Tuesday, June 18 county board meeting.

Speed data from 2023 was reviewed from a radar sign on CSAH 13. The posted speed limit is 30 mph. Seventy percent of traffic exceeded the speed limit. Eight-five percent of drivers were measured by the radar sign to be traveling 40 mph.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation was asked about doing a speed study for the road segment. Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens said the MnDOT District 7 Traffic Engineer said MnDOT would require the County to post the speed limit at whatever the speed study determines the speed should be.

After discussion, the county highway committee agreed to hold a public hearing on the proposed speed study before the subject was brought to the county board for consideration.

Commissioner Borchert said he opposed holding a public hearing on the speed study.

“There’s a strong concern by some residents. As New Ulm police chief, I’m certainly opposed to any increase in speed,” Borchert said.

“Speed reductions mean less severe accidents. Future development on the (northeast) area will mean more bicyclists and walkers. I think we’re going backwards on safety. More speed means more injuries. It’s just math,” said Borchert.

“I think it’s prudent to get public opinion,” said Commissioner Brian Braun.

Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens and Assistant Engineer Andrew Lang said newspaper notices and letters to affected residents used to let people know about the public hearing.

Stevens said residents can submit written comments on the topic if they are unable to attend the public hearing.

Commissioners unanimously approved accepting a $71,425 Chuck Spaeth Ford electric pickup bid awarded with federal Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) funds, motion by Commissioner Braun, seconded by Borchert.

Cottonwood and Blue Earth Counties administered bidding and awarded federal funds to pay 80% of the cost of electric pickups for 13 counties in MnDOT District 7. Brown County will be invoiced $14,285 when a 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro arrives.

Federal funding requires Brown County to keep the pickup for at least seven years. An electrician will be needed to install an electric vehicle charger.

“It’s a good opportunity,” said Commissioner Windschitl.

“I agree. For $14,285, it’s a great bargain for taxpayers,” said Commissioner Braun.

Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens said the electric pickup will be used by assistant highway engineer Andrew Lang for trips to view ditch repairs and other county projects.

A $72,784.64 bid for a 2024 F-150 Lightning EXT electric pickup was received from Harrison Ford of Mankato.


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