Oct 16, 2013 at 9:23 am
SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. (KNSI) - Following the lead of the Benton County Board of Commissioners, a Sauk Rapids road construction project known as "3 Up the Hill" was given the city's unanimous stamp of approval.
At their Tuesday night meeting, the council reviewed and approved plans to fix and reconfigure a 1-mile stretch of Benton County Road 3 between Highway 10 and 3rd Avenue North.
Sauk Rapids City Administrator Ross Olson says, in addition to being in disrepair, the road shrinks from four lanes to two, which doesn't suit the amount of daily traffic. Under the new design, it would become a four-lane parkway with two roundabouts and one traffic light.
Olson says, because it is a county roadway, they've worked closely with them to identify current and future needs.
"We have a construction agreement that spells out how we're going to work together," Olson says. "One way is coming up with an alternative that best meets the needs of the region. It's a regional road. There are people who work and live in Sauk Rapids, and then those who travel through. Right now, we have about 10,000 travelers on that stretch of road daily, and we're expecting that to about double in the next 20 years."
Olson says Tuesday's dual approval is the first step in what will be a lengthy planning process before a 2016 construction start date.
"There are a lot of different funding sources in play - federal dollars included. So, we are in the midst of the environmental process," Olson says. "This is the process to identify any social, economic or environmental issues or concerns and how to address them through a design process. For those who live or work in the area, it will give them an idea of what the road will look like before construction."
Olson says one tricky aspect is creating a design scheme that suits the many different types of traffic that use the roadway.
"We'll see bikes and pedestrians, but we also see trucks. We have an industrial park on the east end of this project, and near Highway 10. So, we have to take great care to design roundabouts that satisfy those needs as well."
Roundabouts are slated for the intersections at Sixth Avenue and Summit Avenue, with a stoplight at the intersection of Stearns Drive.
Total cost of the project comes in around $12.5 million, about half of which will be covered by federal, state and city funds.
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