Traffic volumes not as high as once projected 

A fresh study of County Road 42 in Dakota County starts with the good news that traffic projections from the last study 20 years ago didn’t materialize.

There’s more traffic, but the numbers aren’t as “frightening” as predicted, said Doug Abere, the Dakota County project manager who will lead the County Highway 42 Visioning Study.

That should mean less disruption than once expected from future improvements to the crucial east-west arterial highway.

“Our intent is to limit roadway expansion,” Abere told the Burnsville City Council at a Feb. 11 work session. “I’m not going to suggest that we won’t be looking at new capacity. However, we understand the challenges of expanding Highway 42, so we’ll be looking at creative ways to manage traffic as part of this study.”

The county and three cities will study the 15.5-mile stretch of 42 from the Scott County line through Burnsville, Apple Valley and Rosemount to Trunk Highway 52 in Rosemount.

The 16- to 18-month study will begin this month, with the goal of identifying and prioritizing projects, Abere said. The last such study of 42 concluded in 2000, he said.

Each city has unique characteristics in the corridor.

By 2040, the Burnhaven Drive area in Burnsville is projected to carry 59,000 vehicle trips per day, the corridor’s heaviest burden, according to updated county estimates.

Current volumes approach 50,000, but neither those nor the 2040 forecasts are as high as once thought, Abere said.

The Garden View/Hayes area of Apple Valley is projected to carry 38,000 trips, and the Cedar Avenue area 41,000.

In Rosemount, 26,000 daily trips are projected in the Chippendale area and 24,000 in the Biscayne area.

In Burnsville, 42 will need to support redevelopment in the Burnsville Center area under the city’s Center Village plan. Accommodations will need to be made for an increase in pedestrians and bikes, a central part of the plan, Abere said.

In Apple Valley, the focus will be on intersection signals, he said. Both Apple Valley and Burnsville have residential neighborhoods that could make improvements “challenging,” he said.

In Rosemount, “new development is really the theme,” Abere said. “Challenging infrastructure issues” include the Highway 3 railroad crossing, he said.

“We have to understand that we can’t do everything at once,” he said of future corridor projects, “but we certainly can plan for those top priorities and move forward.”

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