Owasso street realignment project approved by Shoreview council

At a March 4 meeting Shoreview council members unanimously approved plans and specifications for the realignment and reconstruction of an 800-foot section of Owasso Street near the County Road E and Victoria Street intersection.

The estimated $3 million project will involve moving part of Owasso Street to the north and aligning it with the western leg of County Road E.

The reconstruction of Owasso Street will coincide with the construction of the Lake View Terrace condominiums, which will be built where the Midland Plaza strip mall currently stands. Lakeview Terrace will be a six-story building with over 100 upscale apartments, which will have an underground parking structure for its residents. 

Shoreview council members have been mulling over the project’s cost and preliminary plans since 2009, but were waiting for new development in the area to be confirmed before committing to the project.

Moving Owasso Street to the north is necessary now that the Tycon Corporation has decided to move forward with the construction of Lakeview Terrace, because the building’s underground parking structure will be built where Owasso Street now sits.

“It’s unfortunate timing,” Shoreview Assistant Engineer Tom Wesolowski said. “The city was going to start this project earlier, but there were delays on the developer’s end. When it’s all said and done it will make getting around the area a lot easier for everyone”

At the meeting mayor Sandy Martin asked how the project would mitigate the current traffic congestion in the area, which she said is particularly bad during Island Lake Elementary School’s pick-up time and through evening rush hour.

City Engineer Mark Maloney responded by saying that traffic flow would improve in the area due to new traffic signals and additional turning lanes on County Road E near the school.

Additionally, he said pedestrians would be safer in the area due to improved street crossing designs and a new fenced-off trail leading to the elementary school.

The reconstruction project will be complicated, because so many parties are involved, and because it not only requires the movement of the road to the north, but also the relocation of underground utility lines, installation of new traffic lights and railroad crossings, and other planned improvements.

“It’s a pretty complicated public improvement project. It’s a little deceptive in that it looks like a small project from an aerial map, but it involves railroad crossings and accommodating school issues, as well as fire department coordination on two county roads, and as we all know it’s probably the most unorthodox intersection in Ramsey County period,” Maloney told the council at the meeting.

Wesolowski said the project is currently out for bid and he expects a bid to be awarded by late April and construction to begin in May.

Prior to the city’s reconstruction of Owasso Street, Tycon will begin its construction at the Lakeview Terrace site by tearing out the old section of roadway on Owasso and burying utility lines underneath. They will then build a temporary service road, which will be used until the project’s completion.

Wesolowski said Tycon would most likely begin its construction sometime in April. The majority of construction is expected to be complete by the end of November. He said roadways would remain open during construction with the exception of one week when Canadian

Pacific Railway workers will reconstruct the crossing at Victoria Street. During that time all traffic on Victoria Street will be diverted to the south.

The nearly $3.1 million project will be financed using just over $1 million in tax increment proceeds, around $450,000 in Met Council grant funding, $360,000 from Ramsey County and about $1.8 million from a tax assessment to the Lakeview property’s developer. 

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7824.

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