The city of Brainerd disagrees with Crow Wing County's plan to reduce the width of a portion of Riverside Drive.
The Brainerd City Council, in a 4-3 vote Monday, approved keeping the roadway at 44-foot width, as was proposed by Crow Wing County Highway Engineer Duane Blanck. Voting against the motion were council members Kelly Bevans, Anne Nelson Fisher and Bob Olson.
At its May 11 meeting, the Crow Wing County Board, in a split vote, decided to reduce part of the roadway to 36 feet after hearing objections from residents who wanted to keep the roadway narrow after it passes Ashmun Road and heads toward its narrowest point at Ahrens Hill. Original plans called for the road to narrow to 32 feet in width after Ashmun Road and then to 28 feet around Ahrens Hill.
Riverside Drive, also known as Crow Wing County State Aid Highway 20, winds through residential areas between Gilbert Lake and the Mississippi River.
Council member Gary Scheeler, in voting in favor of the original 44-foot width, said the roadway should be that wide for safety reasons.
City Engineer Jeff Hulsether said the county, by state statute, must receive approval from the city of its construction plans before it can proceed. Hulsether noted the city has already approved the county's plans for other segments of the project, including from Washington Street to Beaver Dam Road and Beaver Dam Road to Ashmun Road.
"The county made the change based on citizen input and I doubt those citizens were aware they needed to be here at 11:30 p.m. tonight," said Fisher Monday night in casting her opposing vote.
Blanck could not be reached Tuesday night about the impact of Brainerd's action on the Riverside Drive project.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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