By Chad Koenen


The Henning City Council moved forward with a Complete Streets project along Highway 108.

During a special city council meeting last Monday, the city council heard from Lori Vanderhider, of MnDOT, about the proposed 2024 Highway 108 project. The council faced a looming deadline to either approve, or decline, the Complete Streets project.

As part of the proposed Complete Streets project, MnDOT will narrow the road to just a 12 foot driving lane and a 10 foot parking lane. That will mean the sidewalks will be extended an additional 4 feet towards the road on each side.

By moving forward with the Complete Streets project, MnDOT will pay for 100 percent of the center 24 foot driving lane, 100 percent of curb and gutter, 100 percent for a standard sidewalk or the existing sidewalk whichever is greater, and will pay for the storm sewer replacement.

The City of Henning will be responsible for 10 percent of the cost for the parking lane and any costs associated with replacing the sanitary sewer over and above what MnDOT is proposing to fund. 

Bob Schlieman, of Apex Engineering, said the sanitary sewer underneath Douglas Ave. was installed in the 1940s and is beginning to show its age.

Henning Councilman Scott Hart asked Vanderhider if the city could keep a wider road than what is being proposed by MnDOT, in order to help alleviate congestion from ag traffic. Vanderhider said a recent demonstration, which was organized by Henning residents, showed that ag equipment can navigate the proposed road that will feature sidewalks that are four feet wider on each side of the road.

“It demonstrated that the ag vehicles could make it through town with the narrowed road and so we didn’t see a demonstrated need to take it wider. When you narrow the roads it actually is cheaper in the long run because there is less road to maintain,” said Vanderhider.

Henning Mayor Darren Wiese disagreed with Vanderhider’s notion that the ag demonstration showed that ag vehicles and semis can safely navigate the more narrow road.

“I just want to go on the record and say I’m sure the vote will be unanimous to accept (the Complete Streets project and funding), but it is going to be unanimous to accept it for the money. I don’t believe in the safety line that is being fed to us. I watched a semi the other day that couldn’t make it around the corner if the bump outs would have been there. So in my opinion my vote is going to be to take it because we need the money, but I am not convinced it’s safety.”

Henning Mayor Darren Wiese

The council also said it would be interested in an amenities zone as part of the larger sidewalk. The city would receive additional funding from Mn DOT to install things like benches or bike racks if it chose to do so.