The City of Independence, Hennepin County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) developed three preliminary plans for County Road 92 at the two locations where it intersects with Highway 12.
Representatives from Hennepin County and MnDOT hosted an open house to talk with residents regarding the preliminary plans. A survey was also available online for residents to make comments. According to Hennepin County Communications Specialist Nick Kim, the county received a large surge of responses within the first few days.
According to County Road 92 Project Manager Nathan Ellingson, their main concern is safety.
“Certainly we’re here because of safety issues on Highway 12, safety issues with these two intersections on 12 and 92...The rates of the crashes in this area exceed state averages. We’re trying to address safety. That’s the primary need on these projects,” he said.
Alternative 1A keeps the two intersections and at-grade railroad crossing, includes a roundabout at the west intersection and a three-quarter intersection at the east.
Alternative 3 would include a grade-separation with Highway 12 and the parallel railroad, realign County Road 92 and build a roundabout.
Alternative 4G would realign County Road 92 over Highway 12 and the railroad, creating a bridge, as well as construct quadrant ramps with right-in and right-out access.
Ellingson said the three options showcased at the open house are the best options that they feel address their primary concern, safety. The secondary concern is mobility. Residents who make right and left turns daily onto Highway 12 expressed their concern for creating gaps in traffic as well as if drivers will be able to use the roundabout properly.
“This is just one piece of the puzzle,” Ellingson said in response.
A preliminary preferred design is expected to be chosen by the end of the summer and construction is currently planned to begin in 2021. Addressing the two intersections is one project planned to begin in two years.
MnDOT will also reconstruct Highway 12 from County Road 6 to Baker Park Road in Maple Plain to install a center concrete barrier in hopes to eliminate head-on crashes. The third project MnDOT will be constructing is a roundabout at Highway 12 and County Road 90 in Independence.
“We are still modifying elements of the roundabout and drainage and can expect further changes,” MnDOT Senior Project Manager Dan Mattison said.
MnDOT describes the intersections need as “the current intersection has challenging sight lines for entering cars, which contribute to the higher-than-average crash rates. The roundabout will greatly reduce crashes and make it easier for traffic to turn onto and from County Road 90.”
The project will cost approximately $4.7 million, which will consist of a mix of federal, state and county funding.
“The intent is to do all the projects at the same time to share a detour that would bypass all three of these projects,” Ellingson said.
Information regarding the three projects can be found at https://www.hennepin.us/countyroad92safety