What’s Up with Faribault’s Southern Exit?
About two weeks ago Gordy Kosfeld posted a story about Sen. John Jasinski's push for the addition of exits and entrances at I-35 and Highway 9, just north of Faribault. I understand the need for this new interchange, because I'm sure there is a lot of traffic in and out of the industrial park at the north end of town. Exits just north of that area would help alleviate some of the congestion I've experienced at the intersection of Highway 21 and 30th Street Northwest. This got me thinking, with all the housing growth, why haven't they expanded the interchange at the south end of Faribault? Gordy posed that question to both Jasinski and Mayor Kevin Voracek and was told that they didn't think it was feasible.
Now if you live on the south side of Faribault, you've probably thought, why didn't they make a complete interchange at this end of town? That's a good question. The only reason I can think of is that our forefathers, in all their wisdom, failed to have the foresight to realize that someday the city of Faribault might expand toward the south. Perhaps their grand vision saw the city expanding toward the north, hopefully merging with the southern metro.
As it sits now, you can only head south onto I-35 or exit into to the southern portion of Faribault if you're traveling north on I-35. This means if you live at the south end of town and your destination lies to the north of town, you have to travel the length of Highway 21. On this route you'll encounter five stoplights that you may or may not have to stop at. Imagine how much time and gas that is wasted in this era of pushing cars to get the best gas mileage.
In the interest of science, I decided to see how much time I would save if I could exit from the south of town onto I-35. Cruising along at 70 mph, I was able to travel the length of I-35 from the southern exit to Faribault's northernmost exit in three minutes. I then timed my drive time from this same southern exit area to the same northern exit. Driving the posted speed limits, I was lucky enough to hit three green lights and only two red lights. The entire travel time took just under six minutes, nearly double that of being able to exit at the south end of town. Remember, I was able to hit several green lights, which doesn't usually happen. I imagine if you end up having to stop at all the lights along Highway 21, and were in in heavier traffic, it would turn your travel time into 10 minutes or longer just trying to get out of Faribault and onto I-35.
I feel that it's well past the time that officials take a look at this inadequate interchange and bring it up to current traffic standards. It's basically choking off possible business growth at that end of town. Also it's not a pretty sight to new visitors to our town to see the long-vacant, weed-infested K-Mart parking lot and former building site. A new, updated interchange might help to reinvigorate business interest in this area.
What are your thoughts? Please feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com and let me know.