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Residents comment on proposed Woodbury Drive improvements

Woodbury resident Chuck Nordeem discusses project location and its existing conditions with HRGreen consultant Tim Lamkin at the Woodbury Drive open house Thursday.

A highly traveled road in Woodbury is up for some rehabilitation in 2013, and an open house Thursday sought input from residents who may be impacted.

Woodbury Drive, also known as County Road 19, is a north-south arterial roadway connecting Cottage Grove, Woodbury and Lake Elmo.

The two-lane rural roadway, from Park Crossing to one-fourth mile south of Bailey Road, is deteriorating, project consultants said. Combined with an increasing traffic volume, safety concerns may become more of an issue in the future.

According to Washington County data from 2005 to 2009, 44 total crashes were reported in the corridor, 14 crashes at County Road 19 and Lake Road and 16 crashes at County Road 19 and County Road 18.

"It would be perfect if everyone on the corridor would give input," said Tim Lamkin, HRGreen consultant for Washington County.

A number of Woodbury residents attended the open house that lasted about three hours. They gave numerous suggestions -- from roundabouts and traffic signals, to trail continuation and left turn lanes.

Project plans are still in the early stages, said Jane Krebsbach, project manager with Washington County. After analyzing residents' comments and suggestions, more specific plans will be drawn.

"We need to design a road that's going to meet the need over the next 20 years," she added.

Traffic is now at or near capacity, especially on the north end from Valley Creek Road to Lake Road, which is seeing 15,000 vehicles per day with projections climbing to 23,000 in 20 years. One idea to deal with traffic volume is to widen the road to four lanes.

But Sheila Rubida, who lives on Edgewater Drive west of Woodbury Drive, said widening the road in that direction would destroy all of the pine trees and the hill that makes her neighborhood a little quieter.

"It's gonna happen, we just don't want it in our backyard much closer than it is," agreed her husband Jerry Rubida.

The couple is also opposed to adding walking and biking trails along a heavily traveled road with speed limits of 55 mph.

"That's absolutely foolish," Sheila Rubida said.

The open house allowed residents to write comments on Post-It Notes and stick them on maps detailing where the project location is.

Various notes were in favor of biking and walking trails, but others said it's unsafe and that residents should utilize the existing trails in Woodbury.

Woodbury Drive is surrounded primarily by residential development, water bodies, Eagle Valley Municipal Golf Course and the Church of St. Ambrose at its southern end.

Washington County is mainly responsible for the road, but the city of Woodbury is a partner on the project since Woodbury Drive goes through the city.

Future meetings will continue to keep residents updated on the project's developments.

"It's important to recognize we do these meetings early on so that we can design a road that fits the needs of the community," Krebsbach said.

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.