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Neighbors’ passive protest for street repairs along Thurber Road

A plea for repairs. That’s what neighbors who live along Thurber Road in Duluth are doing after years of driving on a deteriorating street. 

The road is located by the Duluth Airport just off Norton Road.

Neighbors Wednesday morning, organizing a passive message to get the city to pay attention and it’s hard to miss. 

30-year residents Jeanette Olson and her husband Dale placed eleven warning signs along a half-mile stretch of Thurber Road. 

Jeanette says, "we said maybe we should just put out signs you know and put out some of the parts that we’ve replaced and maybe that will get some attention."

The Olsons say the road has been falling apart since the 2012 flood. "We actually found out at that point that they were slated to redo Norton Road and Thurber Road, but I don’t know what happened."

The husband and wife claim many neighbors and family cars have been damaged due to the street conditions prompting the signs.

"You have to about 5 to 10 miles an hour. You have to swerve to avoid the dips," says Jeanette. 

Vehicle damage that includes broken ball joints, springs, and shocks. The wife says, "Unsuspecting people that don’t realize how bad it really is because you know when you look at it and you’re driving at 20 miles an hour you don’t really see how bad it is until they hit that first bump."

Each sign is spaced out at a location where residents claim vehicles have been knocked around. The sign at the very beginning of the street reads "Cars’ worst nightmare ahead" and from there, ten more. 

Jeanette says, "finally this morning we just decided okay, let’s just this. We’re going to do this, we’re going to make the signs, we’re going to put out the parts."

Ultimately a warning to all those who travel down the dead-end road. "Hopefully the people in charge of doing the road repairs will realize what a hazard it is and take care of it."

The Olsons say they’ve written letters and lobbied City Councilors asking them to repair the street over the years.

Duluth City Councilor, Joel Sipress who is responsible for this district says Wednesday is the first time he’s heard about the problem and will continue to look into it.

Meanwhile, officials at City Hall say, they will continue to conduct general maintenance and patching of Thurber Road.

Officials also state,

This is an example of a road that could benefit from a 0.5 % Transportation Sales Tax program, a proposal that would provide a stable source of funding. Mayor Larson and City officials will advocate hard for this sales tax again in the next legislative session and ask the legislature to fulfill the will of the Duluth residents.

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