By Paul Groessel
Sun POST Newspapers
In the early considerations for a new Highway 169 and 101st Avenue interchange, planners have come up with six design alternatives that the public can scope out before a committee picks three of its favorites.
There will be much to consider. The stretch of highway in northwest Brooklyn Park is surrounded by development potential, has a regional trail running through it, could see a light rail maintenance facility in the coming years, is close to Highway 610 and is bordered by Champlin, Osseo and Maple Grove.
Area residents had a chance to review the six alternatives during a March 25 open house at Brooklyn Park City Hall. As with any drafting of a massive redesign, each option has its own drawbacks and each party involved has its own insights.
“The biggest challenge is finding a concept that all parties can agree to,” said Marie Cote, vice president of SRF Consulting Group, Inc., the engineering, planning and design company that the city hired in August to help facilitate the study and alternatives.
The redesign would also consider multiple modes of transportation and any construction impact on “traffic, wetlands, parklands, future LRT considerations, etc.,” according to the project website.
Most of the six options include a Highway 169 overpass at 101st Avenue, with one alternative having an overpass at Oak Grove Parkway instead. Five of the alternatives propose a unique interchange style or location along Highway 169. They also include a varying degree of improvement to support roadway systems.
The project is a long way from coming to life, and it is too early for funding commitments, Cote said.
“If people ask the question, ‘When is this going to be built?’ it’s going to be a long time because it’s tied to funding,” Cote said. “MnDOT has no funds in their long-term plan to put an interchange here. And basically what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to do the planning, narrow it down to three, so then we can do the environmental process.”
Planners would then prepare the preliminary engineering design, she said.
“If funding becomes available, or if we can apply for federal dollars, then you have all the pieces – the public involvement completed – you score better on your application, and you’re more likely to get funding,” Cote said.
In 2007, the city conducted an update to its transportation plan, which indicated that anticipated development in the northwest part of the city would require an interchange near Highway 169 and 101st Avenue, according to the summary on the project’s website.
The Study Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from surrounding cities and regional, county and state groups, will meet in late April to review the six options and comments from the public before narrowing those options down to three. Those three options will be refined and displayed at another open house during the summer, according to Cotes and the project outline.
Project info: bit.ly/1dyFYqu (link shortened).
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