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End near for Hwy. 100 bottleneck

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW
  • Star Tribune
  • January 21, 2013 - 9:28 PM

The bottleneck that develops almost daily on Hwy. 100 between Interstate 394 and 36th Street in St. Louis Park is enough to drive motorists mad.

News that the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) plans to reconstruct one of the most congested segments of freeway in the Twin Cities should bring cheers from the thousands of drivers who make that trip each day.

Starting in late 2014, MnDOT will begin reconstructing the intersections at Hwy. 7 and Minnetonka Blvd. (also known as County Road 5), replacing the structurally deficient bridges at those two intersections and widening Hwy. 100 to three lanes in each direction between 36th Street and 25 1/2 Street, which is just south of I-394.

Repaving the road, adding additional auxiliary lanes and replacing two railroad bridge are also included in the project.

In preparing for the $80 million project, MnDOT conducted an assessment of its environmental impact and is accepting comments through Wednesday. Comments can be sent to Rick Dalton, MnDOT Environmental Coordinator at 1500 W. County Road B2, Roseville, Minn. 55113. Comments can also be submitted by e-mail to richard.dalton@state.mn.us.

Copies of the assessment are available at the St. Louis Park Library, the downtown Minneapolis Central Library on Nicollet Mall and are posted on the MnDOT website (www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy100slp).

Built in 1930 as the first beltway around the Twin Cities, the two-mile section of Hwy. 100 is labeled "substandard." A proposal to upgrade that segment was on the table in 2006 but stalled for lack of funding. A few lower-cost improvements, converting the shoulder on the northbound side to a through traffic lane and a collector lane on the southbound side, were made in 2007.

The new project is aimed at improving safety and traffic flow on Hwy. 100 and replacing deficient bridges as ordered by the Legislature, the agency said.

Construction is scheduled to be complete by late 2016.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768 Twitter: @timstrib @stribdrive

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