Mendota Heights starts looking at future road projects

The Mendota Heights City Council on Aug. 6 unanimously approved moving forward with a feasibility report for two road projects identified as part of the city’s 2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan. There were also concerns raised about the construction of a future trail.

 

Proposed projects

Ryan Ruzek, public works director, said Marie Avenue, from Lexington Avenue to Dodd Road, and the Wesley Neighborhood are slated for improvements. 

Some of the proposed work to be done on Marie Avenue includes pavement replacement and an improved layout of the street lane configuration, including looking at adding bike lanes.

Ruzek said Dakota County is proposing the city look at replacing a pedestrian underpass. There are improvements to the trail along Lexington Avenue that include adding a curb and reconfiguring the pathway. This section of roadway was last overlaid in 2001.

The Wesley Neighborhood, which includes Mager Court, Spring Creek Circle, South Lane, Wesley Court and Wesley Lane, is slated for pavement replacement, curb repair, storm sewer extensions and the possible construction of the Dodd Road Trail from Maple to Marie. 

The estimated cost for the Marie Avenue project is $1.45 million, and the estimated cost is $517,000 for the Wesley Neighborhood improvements. Work would be done in 2019.

Ruzek said ordering the feasibility study doesn’t tie the city to either project. Dakota County would be responsible for the cost of the underpass improvements. 

 

Trail improvements and connections

Council member Jay Miller said that last summer, the council met with a group of residents along the Dodd Road trail between Wesley and Marie. 

“I think it’s safe to say that to a resident, they were less than excited about that proposed path going in,” he said.

Miller added that it was his understanding it was not whether or not they wanted a trail, but rather the type of trail that was proposed and the set back that was being taken.

Miller said all the groups involved, including the Minnesota Department of Transportation, should be brought together to talk about trail options — there can still be a safe way to walk and bike on Dodd Road without residents giving up portions of their property for a trail.

Council member Liz Petschel said trail concerns are an issue that have to be decided and solved before they come back to council for final approval.

She asked if the improvements to the Lexington Trail were ones discussed at the traffic safety committee. Ruzek said three or four issues along the trail will be addressed by the improvements.  

Council member Ultan Duggan asked if the Dodd Trail extension isn’t as safe as planners expected, because of speed limits and traffic, if there would be any remedies. 

Ruzek said the current on-street trail is just a wide shoulder. By constructing an actual trail there would have to be a five-foot boulevard, plus the existing shoulder, meaning the trail would be a minimum of 10-feet off the travel lane.

“It would be very safe,” Ruzek said.

 

— Hannah Burlingame

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