BAXTER -- An Environmental Impact Statement for improvements on U.S. 169 is nearing completion, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reported.
The EIS is being done for improvements to the highway from Highway 27 north of Onamia to the Highways 18 and 6 intersection north of Garrison.
The following alternatives were studied in the draft EIS:
-- Alternative 1, the no-build alternative. Improvements to Highway 169 and the surrounding roadway network would be limited to normal and ongoing pavement maintenance.
-- Alternative 2, the lake alignment alternative, includes a design option that bypasses the tribal trust lands to the west of the Mille Lacs Band Reservation.
-- Alternative 3, the partial southern lake bypass alternative, includes an improved east-west connection to and from the Mille Lacs Band Reservation.
-- Alternative 4, a partial northern lake bypass.
-- Alternative 5, a full lake bypass alternative, includes an improved east-west connection to and from the Mille Lakes Band Reservation.
Following review by the public and agency input at a public hearing/open house and through written comments, MnDOT recommended and gained concurrence from the Environmental Streamlining Committee, that Alternatives 4 and 5 would be dropped, and since the remaining alternatives share the same alignment from the south end of Wigwam Bay to the northern terminus of the project, this portion of the highway improvement will continue into more detailed design, MnDOT reported.
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