The student news site of Owatonna High School.

Magnet

The student news site of Owatonna High School.

Magnet

The student news site of Owatonna High School.

Magnet

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Victoria Contreras is a senior at OHS this year. This is her first year joining Magnet. Contreras joined Magnet because she is interested in bettering her writing and social media skills. She hopes that...

Angel Barajas is a junior at OHS this year. This is his second year in Magnet. Barajas joined Magnet to be able to get out the news of what is happening around the OHS, and because his first year in Magnet...

Luca Gfrerer is a senior at OHS. This is her second year being a part of Magnet. Gfrerer decided to join Magnet because she has an interest in journalism and wants to improve her writing skills. She is...

Roundabout to be done soon

The roundabout on Hwy 218  has been a work in progress. The town has seen delays and push backs since the start. The roundabout was supposed to be open on Aug 25, 2023, but has yet to be opened due to complications. This has an impact on OHS as the traffic flow has been very heavy and very slow. 

With the roundabout not being ready in time for school to start there has been major traffic backups before and after school. Principal Kory Kath said, “It’s a critical artery for this area of town so that 218 and 14(th street) are just major thoroughfares through fairs for the southeast portion of our community, and so in general it’s going to free up traffic in those areas.”

People getting to school have had to make adjustments and plan accordingly due to the major traffic backups. Sophomore Gabby Simon said, “I have to wake up early and plan my route to get to school so it goes more quickly.” Students have to plan their routes to make sure they get to school on time.

 

OHS Magnet sent questions to the county to ask about how the roundabout is going. Assistant County Engineer Paul Sponholz said, “The County has worked with the City of Owatonna and the School District to minimize those impacts by installing temporary stop signs at Hayes Avenue and 18th Street SE to better accommodate traffic from the north. The City limited parking along Hayes Avenue as well so traffic could move more safely through that neighborhood.” 

The construction of the roundabout has had some setbacks. Mr. Sponhlz said, The project had several underground utilities that needed to cross under the railroad track before we could build the roundabout. That work included a storm sewer culvert, and also water, electric and gas lines that Owatonna Public Utilities is extending for future development.” Some of the setbacks are due to lack of permission to even work on the site due to the railroads. Sponholz said, “We needed to get Canadian Pacific Kansas City Railroad’s permission to do that work.” The city finally received permission and could continue on with the roundabout. 

The traffic flow in and out of OHS has played a big part in getting to and from school. With the roundabout opening soon the traffic flow will flow more smoothly. Principal Kath said, “For us it is going to be essential because students that are coming from the north side can come through that way and it is going to then free up everyone from having to come from the eastbound side of 18th Street.” When the roundabout is done kids will be able to come on Bixby instead of having to make a detour. 

To get the roundabout up and running is dependent on the contractor.  Sponholz said, “ Our prime contractor, Heselton Construction, has been great to work with and expediting the work as quickly as possible.” The roundabout has moved as fast as it can with the set backs.


Update: The roundabout officially opened on Nov. 29.

About the Contributor
Anna Mollenhauer is a junior at OHS. This is her first year in Magnet. Mollenhauer is involved in girls hockey, soccer and golf. She is also involved in DECA, Young Life and 4-H. Outside of school Mollenhauer enjoys going on walks with her family, face time with her sister and going shopping. Mollenhauer also loves hanging out with family and friends and playing with her dog. After high school Mollenhauer is planning to attend a four year college to continue her education and major in law or business. Mollenhauer joined Magnet to learn how to improve her writing, take pictures as well as interview people and hopes to be more involved in school.