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Radio Drive scheduled for facelift in 2013

A road project in 2013 will impact traffic between Woodbury and Cottage Grove, affect three homes and force detours for about 1,000 members of Five Oaks Community Church attending Sunday service.

Washington County and the City of Woodbury began preparing for a Radio Drive construction project with a public open house Wednesday, June 6.

The city is the lead project manager, while the county will be footing the bill.

Radio Drive, from south of Bailey Road to Hargis Parkway, will become a four-lane highway like the rest of the road near I-94.

"What you see to the north is what you're going to see to the south," said Paul Kauppi, city engineer and project manager.

In addition to the expansion, engineers are planning for a signalized intersection at Radio Drive and Hargis Parkway.

The project will also include a third underpass at Radio Drive and Bailey Road for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

The roundabout at Bailey Road and Radio Drive already has two tunnels - one that goes east-west on the north side and another that goes north-south on the east.

The proposed underpass will be a "third leg" at the four-way intersection, according to city staff.

The city received an $860,000 grant at the end of last year from the Metropolitan Council to pay for the improvements to the roundabout.

Woodbury City Council will look at the preliminary plan as part of their regular meeting tonight. After that, city staff will continue working on the design plans, Kauppi said.

The city will seek bids for the project in the spring of next year to begin construction in the summer of 2013, he added.

The city owns property to the east of Radio Drive and south of Bailey Road, which leaves four private properties on the west who will be affected by construction.

One of the homeowners who lives on Radio Drive, Brenda Renalls, suggested adjusting the speed limit in that area for safer residential traffic.

"The 55 mph doesn't seem like responsible speed limit," she said, adding, "It's too fast in that region. I've felt that way for a long time."

She said the city and county should consider lowering the speed limit now that more development is happening in the southern portion of Woodbury.

But city planner Eric Searles said the speed limit is set by the state for a rural area and local government doesn't have the authority to adjust it down.

Renalls and business manager of Five Oaks Community Church Brian Burquest, argued that with church traffic, the area is no longer considered rural.

"As you get more and more people... you have to think about that," Renalls said. "This is not a typical rural road."

Kauppi said a speed study will be done when Urban Village gets developed. The results after that may be lowered or stay the same south of Bailey Road.

"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose," he said.

All three property owners and a church representative were present at the open house last week.

The residents were also curious to know when the new grocery store will be opening at Urban Village.

Keith Ulstad, senior vice president of United Properties, the developer for Urban Village, said the company is eager to start building; however, it's not feasible to begin this year and have it be closed off during construction next year.

He said if a "serviceable road" is done by August 2013, the company would start building as soon as possible.

Final plans and designs for Radio Drive will not be completed until later this year, Kauppi said.

Woodbury Drive will also be under construction next year.

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.