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Highway May Claim Land From 100-Year-Old Farm

By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — A 100-year-old family farm could soon become the victim of traffic congestion.

The Fischbach Farm in Brooklyn Park has survived a Great Depression and two World Wars all while producing corn, pumpkins and Christmas Trees for families across the North Metro. But those days are nearing an end.

“I said to someone that it’s like when you get the news you have a terminal illness. It’s just not real until it’s real,” said Mary Johnson, who operates the farm with her brother.

According to the city of Brooklyn Park, the reality is that the intersection near the Fischbach Farm has become a major problem.

“We have a fair amount of congestion today and we anticipate that it’s going to get noticeably worse here in the near future,” said city traffic engineer Jeff Holstein.

Engineers say capacity at the Highway 169 and County Road 30 intersection is 50,000 thousand vehicles a day, but right now 57,000 are passing through — and that number is growing fast.

They also say it’s one of the top 10 most dangerous intersections in Minnesota.

“We think that if something isn’t done here, that is going to continue to worsen. It could potentially be one of the top two or three in the state, if we don’t do something,” explained Holstein.

The city wants to move County Road 30 north onto the Fischbachs property and add half of a cloverleaf that would run through where the barn is now. It was approved by the city council last week. The Fischbachs never thought their land would be harvested for an expanding highway.

“It’s really going to be hard. It’s really going to be hard. A lot of history, a lot of memories. A lot of importance to us. They will come in here, they’ll scrape off all the topsoil, they’ll destroy it. They’ll destroy all this earth here where we have farmed and grown food for people for generations,” said Johnson.

The city still needs to work on getting the “right-away” acquisition first.

Engineers say they could start construction by 2012 and be done by 2014.

The Fischbachs are keeping their fingers crossed that the city finds an alternative solution before then, but they will be compensated for their land if the city and MnDOT move forward.

“We are not sure what we would do next. Farming is what we know,” said Johnson.

Click here to check traffic conditions and cameras.

WCCO-TV’s John Lauritsen Reports

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