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MnPASS is leading option for Cedar Avenue congestion relief

  • Blog Post by: Tim Harlow
  • March 19, 2014 - 11:12 AM

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will hold an open house Wednesday to share its plans on how to relieve congestion on Cedar Avenue through Apple Valley and Bloomington.

After gathering input on three options, the leading option is to add a MnPASS lane in both directions between 138th Street and Old Shakopee Road. The plan also calls for improving transit access at the Cedar Grove Transit Station off Cedar between Hwy. 13 and Diffley Road by building a station in the center median similar to the one on I-35W at 46th Street in Minneapolis.

An open house to show off the plans and discuss the next steps will be held Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Eagan City Hall, 3830 Pilot Knob Road.

A study that wrapped up in 2012 found that Cedar Avenue is subject to one to two hours of spot congestion during the weekday morning rush hour from 140th Street to the Minnesota River. It also found that the bridge over the river is at capacity two hours a day.

Three options emerged for relieving congestion. They included the MnPass lane, a contra MnPASS lane in which movable barriers would be set up to meet the traffic demands by using under used lanes on the opposite side of the highway or a combination of the two.

The MnPASS option was chosen as the best solution and for providing more transportation choices and keep traffic moving. The plan being considered also includes restriping the bus shoulder between Diffley Road and Hwy. 13.

In the next 20 years, MnDOT estimates that traffic on Cedar Avenue will increase by 36 percent. Motorists make 94,000 trips a day between 140th Street and Old Shakopee Road. That will rise to 128,000 by 2034.

Without changes, MnDOT estimates 14,000 existing moring commuters will experience longer drives, unreliable commutes and the potential for more crashes.

© 2014 Star Tribune