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A Woodbury Drive project would add trails on both sides of the road for bike and pedestrian traffic. Staff photo by Riham Feshir

Woodbury moves ahead with County Road 19 design plans

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Woodbury Drive will soon become a four-lane roadway with shoulders, roundabouts, trails and all new landscaping.

Woodbury City Council approved the design plans for the Washington County highway at last Wednesday's meeting, with the exception of one member who voted against the measure.

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Council Member Paul Rebholz was not in favor of expanding the roadway, which increases speed and noise for the residents at the corridor.

"Design drives what the speed is," he said. "They're not mutually exclusive."

The county plans to add two roundabouts at Lake and Bailey roads, which would improve traffic flow, according to county and city staff.

Woodbury Drive will also gain a median and shoulders and trails on both sides.

"People are going to have to slow down to get through the roundabouts anyway, so I don't understand the need to get back to 55 or 60 miles an hour between the roundabouts at Lake and Bailey," Rebholz said. "I just don't. I don't know why that stretch of road can't be narrower without shoulders."

Washington County Engineer Cory Slagle said the county had to request a variance from the state to make the road as narrow as it will be after construction.

In order to get the variance, the county had to argue that establishing trails on both sides would require narrowing the road.

Another variance request would have to be made to make it even narrower, he said.

Council Member Amy Scoggins compared the width of the proposed Woodbury Drive to current conditions of Lake Road.

She said because it's a narrower four-lane road, it does make people slow down.

But City Engineer Klayton Eckles said that road was built a number of years ago and it's not a very comfortable road to drive on.

The June 13 discussion also included how the $13 million project will be paid for.

Some homeowners with properties that abut the corridor thought they would be assessed, Eckles said. But only about 20 properties with direct access to Woodbury Drive will be assessed.

"Folks thought not only do they have this project happening in their backyard but they may have to pay for it," he said. "Since it's not their primary access, our policy does not require any assessments."

Residents along the corridor initially received letters notifying them of construction.

But a number of those residents never heard back from the county on what type of effect the project would have on their properties. Only a few were notified of the assessment costs.

"So for a lot of those people no news is good news," Council Member Julie Ohs said.

Now that City Council approved the design concept, a public hearing will be held Aug. 8 by the city.

Rebholz said although he has consistently voiced his opinion to narrow the road, Woodbury Drive needs major updates as soon as possible.

"I don't think it's going to be perfect, but it needs to be done," he said.

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Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.
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