A spate of new development along a dangerous Hwy. 13 corridor has spurred plans for a multimillion dollar revamp.
On one side of the corridor is Savage, a city of about 27,000 attempting to balance the needs of existing infrastructure while preparing for growth. On the other side is Prior Lake, slightly smaller but with most of its nearby development in place.
Growth in both cities already has meant more traffic through the corridor. Between 1996 and 2012, the number of vehicles passing through on an average day increased by nearly 25 percent, according to SEH Inc., the engineering firm working on the project.
Savage and Prior Lake, in collaboration with the state, have narrowed a list of several possible fixes to just two. The project is estimated to cost about $5.6 million, with the two cities and the state to foot the bill.
Now, it's up to the Savage and Prior Lake city councils to decide whether they want to add a traffic signal at the local Zinran Avenue or the larger 150th Street.
Neither option is perfect, said Larry Poppler, Prior Lake city engineer and inspections director.
There are concerns about signalizing Zinran Avenue because of how it turns onto the highway, Poppler said. A signal there would also be inconvenient for the large number of drivers who typically use 150th.
Adding a signal on 150th, though, would require an easement from Savage's Bethesda Church, which would lose some space to the project. A few nearby homes would have to be razed.
"Typically, when people's properties are affected, they're very concerned," said John Powell, Savage public works director and city engineer.
Attendees at a public open house tended to prefer the option at 150th. But Savage council members expressed interest in the Zinran plan at an informal work session this week.
Prior Lake's City Council will vote on its preferred plan Aug. 25.