MnDOT explores third lane to Interstate 494
City officials are welcoming news that MnDOT will reconsider whether to add a third lane to Interstate 494 in Plymouth instead of a dynamic shoulder.
MnDOT was planning to start the $61.5 million project in July, repaving 494, adding a dynamic shoulder, repairing bridges and adding noise barriers. The widened shoulder would act as a temporary third lane during rush hour.
But now, state transportation leaders are reconsidering the addition of a general-purpose third lane to the interstate between Highway 55 to East Fish Lake Road — the only area in the 494 corridor with only two lanes.
“The Plymouth City Council has said all along that a permanent third lane is the right solution,” Mayor Kelli Slavik said in a statement. “Our primary goal is congestion relief, but we believe a third lane is in the best long-term interest of taxpayers, commuters and businesses that need to deliver goods and services.”
MnDOT officials say a dynamic shoulder would be a less expensive, temporary fix for the next 15 to 20 years and would give about 85 percent of the benefit of a third lane. According to MnDOT, the cost difference between a permanent third lane and a temporary dynamic shoulder is about $25 million. Any changes in plans would require Metropolitan Council approval.
An estimated 95,000 commuters travel that section of I-494 each day. By 2030, nearly 133,000 vehicles are expected to use the roadway each day.
Entries due for city’s banner competition
Artists can enter Plymouth’s eighth annual street lamp banner competition by Thursday, Feb. 20.
The deadline to apply for the competition, which will help beautify the streetscape with public art in the City Center, is 4 p.m. Thursday.
There are separate divisions for teens in grades 9 to 12 and adults ages 18 and older. The entries will be judged by the Plymouth Arts Council jury and selected artists will be asked to paint 2- by 4-foot versions of their original designs.
Three winning designs from each category will be displayed at Primavera and on lamp posts in City Center. First place will be awarded a $75 prize, second place will get $50 and third place will receive $25.
Skating team wins Midwest gold medal
Team Braemar, a skating group based at Braemar Arena, won gold in January at the 2014 Midwestern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championship in Illinois.
That first-place finish earned the team a trip to Italy this month as one of two U.S. teams in the junior division, competing against teams from eight countries. Team Braemar has represented the United States in the competition for eight consecutive years.