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MnDOT hears feedback from St. Francis community after crash on Highway 47

April 23, 2019 10:59 PM

The community of St. Francis wants safety improvements along a stretch of highway they say is dangerous for walkers and bikers.

Highway 47 runs next the city's middle and elementary schools. In November, a driver hit two 14-year-old girls where the highway meets Pedersen Drive.

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They were crossing the road to get to show choir practice at the middle school.

RELATED: Girls struck, driver in St. Francis Crash identified

The accident left Kaia Bollman and Anneliese LaMotte fighting for their lives.

“It was really difficult and I don’t wish it on anybody,” said Anneliese.

Kaia said, “It hurt me and Annie more than it could hurt another person.”

Annaliese had surgery for her femur and pelvis. Kaia suffered a traumatic brain injury and didn't leave the hospital until February.

Kaia is now back at school and recently performed with her show choir. Anneliese is taking classes online and plans to go to high school next year.

“People just have [to] know that we're okay but if they don’t get on this sooner than somebody else might not be okay,” said Anneliese.

RELATED: 2 teenagers struck, seriously injured by vehicle in St. Francis

They're hoping a pedestrian bridge is built, or at least a stoplight.

They sat in the front row as MnDOT explained a year-long study now underway.

“We're here and we're listening and trying to make sure people are heard,” Melissa Barnes, the project manager.

Dozens of people passed through the open house.

“They’re saying the speeds are too high and they're seeing a lot of near misses,” said Barnes.

She said the feedback will be used to determine how to improve the roadway. MnDOT is looking at safety from Cree Street NW to Ambassador Boulevard NW.

“It serves as a passing zone,” said Barnes. “It's kind of an important corridor for the city, the city has really grown up around Highway 47.”

Another open house will be held at the end of the summer, said Barnes. They expect construction will take place in 2021 or 2022.

“We’re moving as fast as we can,” said Barnes.

For Anneliese, every minute that passes without progress “it's just kind of scary to think about”.

“I want it to be safer,” said Kaia.

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