East metro

Gold Line receives grants from metro counties

The Gold Line bus rapid transit project has received two grants worth $6.75 million from the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), the five-county cooperative that funds transit from sales and motor vehicle taxes.

The Gold Line, formerly known as Gateway Corridor, would follow Interstate 94 for 12 miles in an exclusive lane between Union Depot in downtown St. Paul and Woodbury/Lake Elmo. All-day transit service would stop at 13 stations. It could open for service by 2022.

One grant, for $5.4 million, will help pay for the “project development” phase in which the Federal Transit Administration allows the project to complete engineering and qualify for federal funds for construction and equipment. The second grant, for $1.35 million, supports station area planning and public engagement.

CTIB is expected to fund 35 percent of the Gold Line’s $485 million construction cost. Of the remainder, 45 percent will come from the federal government, 10 percent from the state and 5 percent each from Ramsey and Washington counties.

Kevin Giles



Authorities urge caution in venturing out on lake

As ice covers Lake Minnetonka, authorities are reminding anglers and snowmobilers to be cautious driving on the lake.

The lake, which is managed by the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District and enforced by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, has stricter speed limits than state law. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less within 150 feet of the shoreline or within channels.

It’s also 25 mph if the vehicle is 150 feet from a pedestrian, fish house, skating rink or in any part of Black, Emerald and Seton Lakes. Outside of the 150-foot shoreline rule, the speed limit is 30 mph at night or 50 mph during the day; snowmobiles can go 50 mph at night, however.

The Freshwater Society declared ice-in for the lake on Dec. 31, much later than the lake’s typical ice-in date of Dec. 7. For more details about the lake’s rules, go to lmcd.org.




County Road 101 project moves forward

The massive reconstruction of County Road 101, which cuts through Minnetonka, Woodland and Wayzata, is moving forward, nearing its fall 2016 end date.

The $41 million project on the century-old road, also known as Bushaway, started in fall 2014 to add wider shoulders and turn lanes, improve utilities, repave asphalt and put in a trail, new sewers and railroad bridge.

The winding road, claimed to be the first registered road after Minnesota became a state, is also the eastern gateway to Lake Minnetonka. More than 11,000 motorists use it each day. Last year, the city of Wayzata even put up billboards to remind drivers about using Hwy. 12 to get there after construction hampered local businesses.

Since then, Eastman Lane and McGinty Road reopened, and the project corridor from north of Minnetonka Boulevard to Eastman Lane and McGinty Road was paved and reopened until next spring, when construction will finish. The road remains closed north of Eastman Lane.

Crews are still working on temporary tracks for BNSF Railroad before work begins on a new bridge. Also in 2016, work will start on a new curve and intersection at Breezy Point Road. A roundabout was planned there, but nixed after American Indian burial mounds were discovered on the site. For more details, go to hennepin.us/countyroad101.