The Minnetonka City Council awarded two construction bids at its June 4 meeting.
Delton Avenue, which is the frontage road between Minnetonka High School and Highway 7 where many students park during the school day, will undergo construction at Old Excelsior Boulevard. Construction will start in late June and be completed before next school year.
The updates will aim to increase safety at the intersection, which is bustling with new drivers. There are 150 to 200 pedestrians and/or bicyclists pass through the intersection each day, but a low rate of vehicles yield for them, according to a city document.
The low-cost solution is to install a push button that activates flashing warning lights at the crosswalk. Pedestrians can press the button to signal their presence at the crosswalk for vehicles to stop. These lights are warranted in high-volume areas where there are at least 20 pedestrians at peak hours, according to a city document.
“They’re essentially strobe lights and they’re very visible for people in the area,” City Engineer Will Manchester said.
A concrete median will also be installed between lanes on Delton Avenue, which requires removing an eastbound left-turn lane.
“The median allows kind of a safety refuge, so you could cross halfway, rest at the median, have a safe place to stand if you needed to and then cross the rest of the way. It makes the crossing shorter as well, as each segment is a little bit shorter,” Manchester said.
Safety improvements near the high school have been requested over the years by school officials, parent groups and student groups. This project, along with the new fence between the high school and Highway 7, is in response to those requests. The city has also applied for funding from the federal Safe Routes to Schools program, but has not been granted funds. The city will continue to apply, according to City Manager Geralyn Barone.
“This is a good first step. Hopefully, not the only step,” Mayor Brad Wiersum said. “We can work with the school district too to perhaps do some education among parents and students that when these things flash, that means stop. Because I’ve seen it where these things have been used and the flash doesn’t mean stop for all vehicles. This is a critical area for our city, and I want to do everything we can to make it successful.”
The city awarded the project to the lowest of six bidders, which was Midwest Civil Constructors, LLC at $100,872.
County Road 101/Bushaway Road
The council also moved forth on a project for landscaping on County Road 101 North, including improvements to the bridge running over and between Lake Minnetonka’s Gray’s Bay and Wayzata Bay. Construction will likely start in July and be completed by fall.
Near the small parking lot on the east side of the bridge, there will be an overlook with seating and a lighted “City of Minnetonka” sign with the new logo.
Across the street on the west side of the bridge, there will be a fishing dock. A new path will be built underneath the bridge to create better access from the parking lot to the fishing area.
There will also be plantings on the county road from the bridge to Minnetonka Boulevard.
The city awarded the project to the lowest of five bidders, which was G Urban Companies, Inc. at $314,328.50.