North turn lane takes a roundabout

An April 3 motion passed by county commissioners to pay for half of the construction of a turn lane on a county road near North Elementary in Princeton was negated by commissioners at their June 5 meeting.

The April motion authorized an expenditure of up to half of the estimated cost of $15,000, Superintendent Rick Lahn of Princeton expressing to commissioners the school district’s support for the project.

Bids for the project, from two different sources, totaled $16,285 and county engineer Bruce Cochran asked commissioners last week to approve spending up to $20,000 for the project.

The school district and the county would each have paid for half of the bid total.

Commissioner Dan Whitcomb said he didn’t think enough study had been done for the project and Commissioner Phil Peterson said he had a problem with the new amount.

“When does that [increase] stop?” he asked. “I’m having second thoughts about the project.”

Cochran answered that there would be full accounting of the funds spent and that doing the project would provide more safety.

Whitcomb said he was concerned about pedestrian safety if the turn lane was installed but Commissioner Jack Edmonds, from Princeton, said he’s there twice a day as a bus driver and hasn’t seen much pedestrian traffic from the south.

A motion was made by Commissioner Frank Courteau to authorize the county engineer to spend up to $20,000 for the turn lane, with Cochran securing approval from the Princeton School District to pay half of the cost.

Board chairman Edmonds stepped down from the chair position to second the motion.

But commissioners Peterson, Whitcomb and Roger Tellinghuisen voted against the motion and it failed.

Supt. Lahn labeled it “unfortunate” that the project was turned down.

“We’d like to get it done,” he said, “but we understand the financial limitations. We’ll take a look at it in the future.”

Lahn said the project would have increased visibility in the area.

“There’s a lot of traffic there for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon,” he said. “We wanted to do it for safety reasons.”