Shopping centers will get $4M walkway
A pedestrian bridge will connect Radio Drive in Woodbury to Inwood Drive in Oakdale and allow cyclists, runners and walkers to cross safely over Interstate 94.
At their Sept. 20 meeting, Washington County Board of Commissioners hired the design firm of
Kimley Horn and Associates. They approved a $667,490 contract for the preliminary design and due diligence phase of the project.
The stand-alone span will run parallel to Radio Drive (aka County Road 13). It will connect with the current pedestrian trail network along the route.
The existing walkway on the roadway bridge deck is too narrow and does not meet standards for the Americans With Disabilities Act, county project engineer Frank Ticknor told the board during his presentation. A concrete barrier separates pedestrians from the road. The plan is to remove the barrier and convert the trail into a third southbound traffic lane.
Traffic studies indicate that a third lane will be needed, county traffic engineer Joe Gustafson said.
The opening of the Cabela's megastore in Tamarack Village and City Place at the former State Farm Insurance headquarters has contributed to increased vehicle volume near the interchange. The traffic count on Radio Drive south of I-94 last year was 36,500 vehicles per day, making that stretch the second-busiest segment of county road in Washington County.
Years ago, county planners sought to relieve congestion at the interchange by reconfiguring the lanes on Radio Drive. They split the northbound right lane to create separate lanes for motorists exiting Radio Drive to head east or west on Interstate 94.
"We've got a history of doing that when the capacity is needed," County Engineer Wayne Sandberg said. "That left us with only one pedestrian crossing on the west side of the bridge. It's deficient and we need the additional capacity on the bridge."
They explored several options and concluded that building a stand-alone pedestrian bridge was the best option, he said.
Construction, which is set to begin in spring 2019, will be paid for with a $2,636,000 federal grant that was obtained through the Metropolitan Council. The county will provide at least 20 percent in matching funds. The project is budgeted at $3,917,400.
Kimley Horn and Associates will provide an environmental impact analysis of the project as well as right-of-way acquisitions, if needed. They must submit a final design by August 2018. Construction bids will go out in the fall of that year. They will also engage with the cities Woodbury and Oakdale, as well as Minnesota Department of Transportation and the watershed district.