by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
The Rogers City Council received the results of a traffic study that assessed current traffic conditions and how future development would impact it.
Of the intersections studied, three currently meet the conditions of a congested intersection. Two are on South Diamond Lake Road, at Rogers Drive and at Hwy. 101. The other is located on Brockton Lane, at County Rd. 81.
But as industrial development continues on Rogers Drive and an eventual I-94 interchange at Brockton Lane spurs development, congestion is expected to increase.
The industrial development will increase truck traffic in the area. City engineer Bret Weiss said that 80% of the trucks will likely take Roger Drive to South Diamond Lake Road to Hwy. 101 in order to get on I-94, further congesting already-busy roads.
Weiss had several suggestions for future road projects necessary to accommodate increased traffic. These include an additional westbound through lane on South Diamond Lake Road at Rogers Drive, making Brockton Lane and County Rd. 81 four-lane roads, widening some intersections to better accommodate large trucks, and a pedestrian tunnel between Rogers Middle School and High School.
The council took no action at this time because the proposed road projects were based on daily traffic expected in 2019 and 2035 as the result of several development projects that have yet to occur. But they said that they were pleased to have the information now so they can plan accordingly when the time comes.
Also at their meeting, the council gave approval to rezone a 70-acre parcel of land on Rogers Drive, near Brockton Lane to Limited Industrial. The parcel was previously zoned Mixed-Use Regional, which allowed for some industrial mixed with commercial and high-density residential development.
The developer is currently in talks with several interested parties, including FedEx, which is looking at the site for a ground distribution facility of 300,000 sq. ft. on 55 acres.
Council member Rick Ihli said, “I’ve been in favor of this from the start. This would allow us to line up a nice stretch of industrial. This could become a good project for the city.”
Council member Don Hall agreed, saying “I think the proposed use is fitting for that area. But I’m concerned, obviously, about traffic.”
Several Council members expressed concern about the development’s impact on traffic, particularly at Rogers Middle School and High School.
Mayor Jay Bunting told the Council that any development on the land, industrial or otherwise, would impact traffic. He explained to the Council the process that went into his decision to be in favor of rezoning. He said, “I spoke to two developers, both local to the area, and they both gave the opinion that that land should have been industrial from the start. It never should’ve been mixed use because of what surrounds it.”
In other matters, the council gave city staff approval to apply for grant funding from the Three Rivers Community Foundation for funds to staff the Rogers Activity Center from school dismissal until 5:30 p.m. to provide interaction, supervision, and concessions for teens. The programming will only be possible if they receive grant funding.