MnDOT to fix I-94 bottleneck on East Side


Commuters can expect a few MnDOT construction projects on the East Side in 2016. This map outlines MnDOT’s preliminary plan to expand a portion of Interstate 94 between East Seventh Street and Mounds Boulevard. MnDOT also plans to resurface a larger portion of the freeway road between East Seventh Street and Highway 120. (submitted graphic)

MnDOT aims to ease commuter congestion on the East Side along Interstate 94 in the next few years. 

In 2016, the department will begin construction on a new auxiliary lane along eastbound I-94 between the exit to East Seventh Street and the entrance from Mounds Boulevard. Construction will last through 2017. The project’s goals are to reduce congestion and improve safety by increasing roadway capacity. 

According to the environmental assessment of the project, the segment of I-94 corridor from Dale Street to White Bear Avenue (which includes the proposed project area) has a high crash-severity rate and the fourth-highest crash cost in Minnesota at approximately $1.9 million per mile per year. 

“The safety issue is very important,” says MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard.

A public environmental assessment meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 6 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Dayton’s Bluff Community Center to address the project.  The meeting is required by the state and federal agencies because of the project’s plan to increase roadway capacity. 

Traffic engineers are also trying to address noise mitigation, says project manager Jeffrey Gibbens. MnDOT will repair one noise wall and ask for residents’ input about constructing a new one. Residents will be invited to a meeting on the issue, which is to be scheduled near the end of August.  

“It’s very important for people to be involved in the process out here and to let us know what they think, because this will affect them in the future,” Barnard says.

A few more changes will be made as the lane construction takes place, including drainage improvements, new emergency pull-off sites, signal upgrades, new pedestrian ramps, a new guardrail, bridge repairs and more, Gibbens says. MnDOT will also be resurfacing the road from East Seventh Street to Highway 120/Century Avenue in Maplewood.

Information about the project can be found at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/i94stpaul/

--Kaylin Creason

 

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