Orono Police Chief Correy Farniok has some good news from Hennepin County: County Road 44, the main connector between County Road 110 and Hwy. 7 that has endured months of construction and necessitated many a detour over the past one and a half years, is expected to reopen “in a few weeks.”
But Farniok also got wind of a few other projects in the pipeline, and County Road 15 (Shoreline Drive) is expected to be hit hard at various points in Orono, Spring Park and Mound over the next few years.
Projects more than a year out are still in the preliminary planning stages and subject to change, cautioned Farniok, but as of mid-November, here’s what the county anticipates in the way of road work in the near and long future:
Blocked off for one and a half years for the installation of nearly 15,400 feet of new sanitary sewer pipe, County Road 44 in Mound and Minnetrista will likely be open before the cork pops New Years Eve. The road is a direct line between County Road 110 and Hwy. 7; Farniok said it’s expected to reopen “in a few weeks.” A recent update from the county had crews paving one of the last sections - that between Halstead Bay Bridge and Hardscrabble Circle - during the week of Nov. 11.
County roads 15 and 19 (Shoreline Drive and Shadywood Road) in Navarre will likely narrow to one or two lanes in the spring with a complete four- to six-week closure of the Narrows Bridge on County Road 19 heading into Excelsior.
Among the improvements are dedicated left turn lanes and improved timing on traffic signals at the intersection, new sidewalks and repairs to curbing. The Narrows Bridge, built in 1964, is receiving routine repair and restoration work that should extend its life another 40 years, according to Hennepin County Transportation.
Also under consideration but still in the preliminary planning stage is the replacement in 2020 or 2021 of the bridge over Tanager Lake on County Road 15 (Shoreline Drive) in Orono. The bridge is currently load-restricted for commercial truck drivers. Farniok said one possibility he’d heard was that construction of the new bridge could take place alongside Shoreline and then be moved into place, thus limiting the number of lane closures for this project.
An anticipated complete mill and overlay of County Road 15 (Shoreline Drive) from Interlachen Road in Spring Park west through Mound is expected to shift lanes about throughout the project’s duration in order to avoid a complete closure.
However, a closure of County Road 92 in Independence and Minnetrista is anticipated for the same time, and detours onto County Road 110, which connects with Shoreline Drive as Bartlett Boulevard in Mound’s downtown, could further intensify traffic for that area.
Construction around the Noerenberg and Hendrickson bridges in Orono is anticipated for 2022, with expected detours and delays on County Road 51 (North Shore Drive). Both bridges could face a full year-long closure, said Farniok, but he cautioned, too, that plan details have not yet been finalized for this project.
Spring Park’s Sunset Drive, which gives access to Lord Fletcher’s and Thor Thompson Park, is expected to receive a complete reconstruction from County Road 19 (Shadywood Road) south to County Road 15 (Shoreline Drive) in 2023. Local and business traffic would still be permitted during the reconstruction, said Farniok.
“We’ll see a lot of activity in and around our communities for the next few years, but hopefully at the end of 2023 we’ll have some nice roads and bridges and see the end of road construction for the area for a while,” said Farniok.
People can visit Hennepin County Transportation’s website at www.hennepin.us/constructionprojects to follow projects as they happen and sign up to receive updates on lane or road closures.