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Highway opinions sought

Wadena businesses will be asked to take a stand on a Highway 10 route in hopes of making the long-promised project a reality. The Wadena Area Chamber of Commerce is hoping to build a consensus in the business community about what route of four op...

Wadena businesses will be asked to take a stand on a Highway 10 route in hopes of making the long-promised project a reality.

The Wadena Area Chamber of Commerce is hoping to build a consensus in the business community about what route of four options should be taken to expand Highway 10. The Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to expand the highway from two to four lanes through Wadena.

To do that, the state has proposed several options. Three alternatives travel north of Wadena, while the fourth heads through town along Highway 10s current route.

Option A is the farthest away from Wadena, arcing about 1,600 feet outside of town. Options B and C have interchanges inside the city limits but also arc north of the city.

The bypass options begin just east of Wadena, arc north of town and connect back to existing Highway 10 about a half-mile east of the transition of the current four-lane and two-lane highway.

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Vernell Roberts, a Chamber board member and city utility director, said the project has a better chance of being completed if a majority can come to an agreement on a route. MnDOT has been proposing a Highway 10 expansion for years. The Wadena project now is undergoing an environmental impact study, in which MnDOT will look at how all four proposed routes will affect the environment. It is part of the MnDOT construction process.

To help the process, Wadena needs to decide which route would be best. The Chamber is handling the business community part of the opinion. After determining the majoritys opinion, the Chamber will take a stand, said Shirley Useman, executive director.

The Chamber spoke to business people gathered for a recent meeting about small business strategies.

Roberts said he has talked with U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, the senior Democrat on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and asked for funding for the highway project. Oberstar responded by saying that after Wadena decides what it wants, hell find the funding.

Roberts said working toward a consensus now will give the community lead time to be prepared when MnDOT is ready to move forward.

No specifics about how opinions will be collected have been decided.

editorial@wadenapj.com

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