A $1.1 million roundabout project on Rum River Drive South in Baldwin Township and Princeton is going to be a reality.

Sherburne County was awarded an $800,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to help fund nearly two-thirds of the project cost. Sherburne County is contributing a $300,000 local match to the project. Sherburne County also 50 percent of a $30,000 traffic study, with Baldwin Township and the City of Princeton each contributing $7,500 to the traffic study, according to Baldwin Township Chairman Brad Schumacher.

Schumacher is proud of the fact that the cooperative project came together in six months because of Sherburne County’s commitment to the project.

The roundabout will be located on Rum River Dr. S. just west of Highway 169. It will be at Baldwin Township’s 125th Street which leads to the Baldwin Township business district and Princeton’s Ninth Ave. Cir., which leads to Circle 9 Marathon, Burger King and Princeton Auto.

The grant was awarded under MnDOT’s highway freight program. The reconstruction of the four-way intersection into a roundabout will improve traffic and safety, according to MnDOT.

“It is vital to the success of the current and future freight operations within the City of Princeton and alongside adjacent Trunk Highway 169,” MnDOT stated. Highway 169 through Baldwin Township is the most heavily-used non-interstate highway freight corridor in Sherburne County, MnDot stated.

Rum River Drive S. serves Princeton’s industrial park and its businesses with high freight traffic, including Phillips Distilling Company, the ECM Publishers, Inc. printing plant, BioMatrix, Glenn Metalcraft, Minnesota Industrial Coatings, Erdman Automotive, Brand Manufacturing - as well as Crystal Cabinets just west of the proposed roundabout.

The Sherburne County roundabout project had the highest score in project grading among the 19 applicants awarded grant funding. One other Sherburne County project received grant funding: A $3 million reconstruction of County 8

According to MnDOT, the roundabout will feature a 10-ton design to better accommodate the significant heavy commercial traffic that uses the intersection to access the adjacent manufacturing and distribution centers.

Andrew Witter, public works director and county engineer for Sherburne County, stated in a memo to Baldwin Township and Princeton officials that the project is slated for funding during fiscal year 2019. Witter stated his goal is to design and purchase the required right of way in 2018 with bids being let in the Spring of 2019.


Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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