Cliff Road has both an exit from and entrance to southbound I-35W in a configuration that the Minnesota Department of Transportation considers “nonstandard,” said Jon Solberg, MnDOT’s south area planner.
The state has no plans to improve it. The city has taken on the job because traffic on East Cliff Road and West Cliff Road intersects in a way that delays trucks heading out of the industrial business area west of I-35W.
On West Cliff Road, “We get trucks backing up all the way to Kraemer Quarry and Dupont Avenue,” said city engineer Ryan Peterson.
The city has budgeted $5 million to upgrade Cliff Road on the west side of the freeway only. There are no plans to improve the road where it enters northbound I-35W on the east side of the freeway.
A design study of the best way to rebuild the road will be done by consultants this year. Most of the construction is scheduled for 2015 with completion in 2016.
Besides the backups, those turning from West Cliff Road onto the freeway ramp or to East Cliff Road lack a safe, clear view, said Burnsville Public Works Director Steve Albrecht. The traffic problems affect the entire area, “which in turn limits the redevelopment potential and the types of businesses that would consider this area,” Albrecht said.
In the long term, the city has grand plans for redeveloping the area west of the freeway and along the Minnesota River.
For the consultant’s study commissioned by the city, one key question will be whether to add a traffic signal or roundabout to control the intersection of East Cliff Road and West Cliff Road, Peterson said.