Dakota County looks to expand, pave Akron Avenue

Option One
Option One
Option Two
Option Two

Akron Avenue residents who are accustomed to the rustic feel of their two-lane gravel road in Inver Grove Heights have banded together to resist plans to convert it into a four-lane divided highway.

With two proposed alignments on the table, residents created a website to help them stay organized and to lay forth their main concerns — namely, that homes might be razed in the process.

“Several homes may be completely lost,” resident Bessie Erickson says. “Part of the alignment would come through my front yard.

“The neighborhoods are extremely concerned and saddened by the expansion proposals currently on the table from Dakota County.”

The county sees this as an opportunity to support future transportation needs, as demands continue to grow in Inver Grove Heights, Rosemount, Eagan and elsewhere.

A newly expanded four-lane highway would result in an increase in traffic from about 450 vehicles per day to a projected 10,000 by 2030.

As for the timeline, county officials say the project won’t materialize until traffic volumes warrant the expansion. For now, they’re focused on finalizing the route before the start of the new year.

County staff presented both alignments to council members and residents at the Oct. 5 city council working session.

Option 1 would expand Akron Avenue to four lanes from Bonaire Path in Rosemount to just north of 114th Street East in Inver Grove Heights. From there, it would head east to connect with 117th Street and Cliff Road, which would also be expanded from two lanes to four.

Cost estimates come in anywhere between $21 million and $23 million, including the purchase of three homes and additional property from 17 other residents for a total acquisition of seven acres. The county would purchase an additional 31.5 acres from Flint Hills Resources and Northern Gas Co.

Option 2 would expand Akron Avenue from Bonaire Path to the Inver Grove Heights-Rosemount border, then curve east towards Cliff Road. It’s the more expensive option, with estimates ranging from $26 million to $36 million. Only one home would be purchased, plus land from two additional property owners, for a total acquisition of one acre. The remaining 50 acres would be purchased from Flint Hills Resources and Bituminous Roadways.

While residents anxiously await the county board’s decision, many hope their city council members will help elevate their concerns.

Looking back to the eminent domain issues their neighbors faced along Argenta Trail not that long ago, they hope to come to a similar resolution that will best satisfy the needs of residents, businesses, county officials and city officials alike.

Erin Hinrichs can be reached at 651-748-7814 and ehinrichs@lillienews.com. Follow her at twitter.com/EHinrichsNews.


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