The lakes and rivers of the Brainerd area are what make this region special but they can be a serious impediment to the establishment of efficient travel corridors. There just aren't enough good east-west thoroughfares that cross the Mississippi River or skirt around area lakes to meet the area's traffic demands.
That's why we laud the Brainerd City Council's decision to move toward making major improvements to one the city's most used east-west routes - College Drive. This is a high-density motor route serving such popular destinations as Wal-Mart, Forestview Middle School, Central Lakes College and Brainerd High School.
It's a $7.3 million project but the cost to Brainerd taxpayers will be about $870,000, plus $356,895 from a separate Brainerd Public Utilities fund. State, county and federal contributions to the project will allow the city to obtain more bang for the buck for the much-needed improvements. The design calls for a four-lane College Drive with roundabout intersections, the addition of a bike trail on the north side, a sidewalk on the south side of College Drive and a pedestrian underpass under the College Drive bridge over the Mississippi River.
In this rapidly growing area, the College Drive project is too important to be put off until another day.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.