New roundabout coming to Inver Grove Heights next year


The roundabout at Highway 3 and 70th Street will shift the intersection slightly from where it currently sits. Work is slated to begin in a year.

Next summer will be a busy one, construction-wise, for Inver Grove Heights. Work to install a roundabout at Highway 3 and 70th Street will coincide with other planned road construction projects in the area.

 

Though sometimes a hot-button traffic control issue, no residents spoke for or against a proposed roundabout in Inver Grove Heights at the city council’s May 8 meeting. 

Steve Dodge, assistant city engineer, said the project is at the intersection of Trunk Highway 3 and 70th Street, and partners for the project include the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which will do the roadway design, Dakota County, which will be doing project management, and Inver Grove Heights, participating with public sewer and water extensions. 

“All three have funding sources as part of the project,” Dodge said. 

The general project scope is a new roundabout, which will be shifted a little further east and north from the existing intersection. Dodge said the roadway has been designed in conjunction with the preliminary plat that has gone before the council for the Hannah Meadows development. 

The roundabout will replace the existing at-grade all-way stop intersection. There are future plans for Dakota County to expand 70th Street to a four-lane divided highway, so a two-lane roundabout will be constructed. However, to begin, the roundabout will be striped and constructed to operate as a single lane roundabout until there is the need for it to be two lanes. 

The purpose of the project is to help reduce existing delays in traffic flow because of the existing all way stop. The roundabout will also provide for pedestrian and bicyclist circulation.

A signalized intersection was evaluated as well. Material in the agenda packet that was given out at an open house about the project states a roundabout has advantages over a signalized intersection, such as fewer injury crashes and fatalities, improved pedestrian safety, fewer traffic delays and less pollution. 

The general project schedule has work beginning in May of 2018. The overall project cost is estimated to be roughly $5.7 million, with Inver Grove Heights’ estimated cost being around $1.8 million. Funding for the city’s portion will come from the sewer fund, water fund, stormwater fund and state aid.

Roughly half of the city’s portion would be paid by state aid. 

 

More road projects

Mayor George Tourville said the interesting thing about the project is it involves a state highway and a county road, but the city is paying a large portion of the bill. He added the project was originally on the five-year plan for 2019.

John Sass from Dakota County and Molly Kline from MnDOT were at the council meeting. Sass said the open house regarding the project was well attended. He said roughly 40 people signed in.

Council member Paul Hark said there are going to be significant disruptions for the people that live in the area of the project. He asked what the plan is to make sure that people who live in the area know what is going on a year from now when the project starts. 

Dodge said as the project schedule moves forward, it will need to be reviewed for when there would be further notifications. 

“Being that we’re not assessing the project, this is the only hearing we’re doing on the project,” Dodge said. 

Hark said it would be nice if the people who live in the project area would be made more aware there will be some disruptions.

City Administrator Joe Lynch said the city would have to coordinate with Dakota County and MnDOT for notifications. He said they will make sure the information is posted on the city’s website.

There will be a hard closure with the project, and Lynch said the city will attempt to do work on 65th Street at the same time, adding an intersection. 

Dodge said they are coordinating these projects so the area is only disrupted once.  

As this is also a state project, Tourville said MnDOT will be handling the signs, but the city needs to coordinate with local residents and businesses to allow for local traffic to keep flowing. 

Kline said MnDOT has another project on Highway 3 in the same timeframe from Highway 149 to Ann Marie Trail, so it will be working closely with the city and county on how to put the word out about the projects. She said MnDOT will be back before the city regarding this project, which involves resurfacing and a road closure.

While the discussion of the roundabout included a public hearing, no residents spoke, and the project was approved unanimously by the council.

Tourville said the new roundabout might take some getting used to.

“It will still be interesting on that incline and the elevation on 70th Street, going east and west depending on which way you’re going, and coming down the hill in certain weather conditions, and going up in certain weather conditions with a roundabout at the bottom ... “ Tourville said. “We look forward to it.”

 

Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or hburlingame@lillienews.com.

 

 

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