Highway 197 meeting highlights goals for the corridor

The newly-established Highway 197 corridor committee met today, and discussed some goals for the corridor before construction, slated to be between 2025 and 2027, begins.

After a series of introductions of the members, which include elected officials, engineers, business owners and other stakeholders, the group discussed the types of goals they have for the corridor.

The stakeholder committee, as well as MnDOT’s technical committee on the project, will provide a vision for the corridor to present to the Bemidji City Council next year.

According to the MnDOT Communications Director TJ Melcher, the corridor, which is between Bemidji Ave. N and Gillette Dr. NW, averages about one crash a week, with one injury reported each month.

Some business owners, like Mark Dickinson of Century 21 Dickinson Realtors, expressed concerns not just for the potential impacts for their business, but concern for pedestrians along the corridor.

MnDOT presented a plan to install roundabouts on the corridor last summer to the City Council, but the measure failed 3-4.

The committee will meet monthly, and members indicated interest in gathering public input on their thoughts on the corridor moving forward.

More background information on the project is available on the MnDOT project website.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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