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A four-lane Bailey Road?

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For some drivers, Bailey Road has become a nice alternate east-west route for getting around the southern part of Woodbury. Nice, depending on the time of day.

Washington County has placed Bailey Road (aka County Road 18) on the draft 2016-2020 capital improvement plan (CIP), because lately, the alternate east-west route has been experiencing a heavy increase in traffic at certain times of the day.

In all likelihood, Bailey Road will one day become a four-lane county road, much like Valley Creek (aka County Road 16) is now, according to Washington County Engineer Wayne Sandberg.

During the past year, county officials have been working on a traffic management and safety study for work to be done on70th Street (aka County Road 22) to the south, in Cottage Grove. After working through a process, and keeping an eye on the increased usage of Bailey Road in Woodbury, Sandberg sees a lot of similarities between the two county roads.

Both were built, he said, in a time when Woodbury and Cottage Grove were still very rural communities. As such, the two were designed as rural roads and not meant to handle large volumes of traffic. Of course, both communities have grown, and the amount of traffic using those east-west routes has increased accordingly.

While the county is planning a $3.4 million road improvement project along County Road 22 in 2017, County Road 18 is relatively new to the mix.

"It's getting very busy along Bailey," Sandberg said, "especially at the intersection where Bailey meets Military Drive."

With residential development just starting to creep south of Bailey Road in Woodbury, and amenities like Bielenberg Sports Center and the Bielenberg Gardens business development also coming to life, the use of Bailey Road will only increase in the future, he said.

Sandberg said county staff is working with Woodbury to start planning for the future of Bailey Road. The county plans to work with the city to create a strategic plan for the entire route of CSAH 18, to determine when, and where, and how the road will be expanded. The county is doing the same thing with Cottage Grove, to plan the future of 70th Street.

"Bailey is going through the exact same transformation," Sandberg said. "There is a lot more traffic, a lot more pressure on this road. That's why we want to put together a strategic plan."

The County Road 18 project is also on the county's 2015-2019 CIP.

By the CIP, planning and design for the County Road 18 project is scheduled to begin in 2018. Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin in 2019, and construction is planned for 2020. The preliminary cost associated with the improvement is $4.3 million.

While it is still a few years off, Sandberg knows residents like to know the timing of road improvements that affect them. As such, he said, there will be a number of public-input sessions as the project parameters are formed.

But it is not unusual for quiet little country roads to grow up to be four-lane highways, he added. At least, not in this section of the county.

"That's always just been the natural progression for these two-lane highways," he said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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