Some residents on Crow Wing County Road 140 near Whitefish Lake have driven on gravel road for 25 years.
Action by the Crow Wing County Board Tuesday that will lead to having the road overlaid with bituminous surfacing was a long-anticipated blessing.
After hearing from several residents who live on the county road, also known as Whitefish Aven ue, the county board agreed to prepare the road for the overlay by having the trees removed for the right-of-way.
Duane Blanck, county highway engineer, said this project is the No. 1 project in District 2. Half of the road is paved and the county will overlay the rest of the road on the Whitefish lakeside to match. The road will be about 23 feet wide and have a four- to six-foot clear area for drainage and snow removal, said Blanck.
Once the road is done, Crosslake will take the road over.
"I live there 24-7 and this is the 16th time I've been here in favor of the project in 25 years," said Ben Boldt, Whitefish Avenue resident. "Why is one side paved and we have to drive on gravel?"
Another resident Steve Roe said he is not against paving the road, but he has concerns on the improvements, such as clearing the trees for the path of the road if the alignment changes.
"This is one of the reasons why we live here is the appearance of the area," he said.
Roe also was concerned about drainage into the lake.
Blanck said the design standards the department is following for the county road are Crosslake's standards, since the road will belong to the city.
"There are not a lot of major alignments," said Blanck. "I agree with you (Roe) with the storm drainage. In 1980 during the Crosslake project there were no standards and it drains to the public waters."
Page Wigren, Whitefish Avenue resident, said there is nothing she disagrees with, but is concerned about people speeding on the road.
"You can't see the cars coming over the hill and some are going 40-45 miles per hour," she said. "Someone's going to get killed there (at the intersection on Hilltop Road)."
Blanck said the county has no authority in approving speed zones and said 30 mph is used for municipalities where there is a driveway every 100 feet, which would apply to the County Road 140 area.
Blanck also commented that speeding is an issue on any road.
"It's your neighbors," he said on those speeding in the area since the road circles around.
Wally Mertensotto, another resident, said he lives 100 feet from a huge tree and he is all in favor of having the tree cut down for the road. He also wants the hills and valleys of the road leveled out for safety reasons.
"They can take all the trees they want on my property," said another resident, Jerry Boe. "We've been waiting for this for 10 years. Do what you can for us ... Amen."
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