Maryland-Arkwright construction slated to start mid-August

Maryland Avenue will be widened at the Arkwright intersection later this summer. (submitted graphic)

Ramsey County Public Works crews have been working on Maryland Avenue one intersection at a time.

So far they’ve added left-turn lanes at two dangerous intersections along the avenue -- at Prosperity Avenue and at Rice Street.

Next, they’ll be working on the Arkwright Street intersection, putting in left-turn lanes, widening the road and improving the sidewalks.

The busy intersection, just two blocks east of Interstate 35-E, sees an estimated 22,000 cars a day and has been the site of 175 crashes in the past five years.

“It’s one of the higher risk intersections in St. Paul,” said Nick Fisher, project manager for the construction.

Half of the accidents have been from left turns, Fischer said. Luckily, none of the crashes have been fatal.

“Were trying to get ahead of the ball here ... by making it a little safer before there is a fatality,” he said.

Typically, adding the turn lanes is pretty successful in reducing accidents, Fischer said. With added turning bays at the intersection, he predicts the number of accidents could reduce by 50 percent.

Jerry Auge from the county public works department gave a presentation at a District 5 community meeting to discuss the coming construction on Tuesday, June 25.

The presentation outlined the layout of the project and a rough schedule for construction -- public works predicts Maryland will be closed for total of seven weeks, in three phases. Construction will begin with a three-week closure on the west side of the intersection, followed by a three-week closure the east side. The intersection itself will be closed for a week. Construction is expected to begin mid-August and completed by mid-October.

The total cost of the project is an estimated $4 million, which includes paying the construction contractors as well as acquiring right-of-way land. Funding comes from a mix of federal, county and city sources.

Of the total 31 private parcels affected by the project, 30 of them have been resolved -- there is one outstanding issue with a mixed-use building at 399 Maryland Ave. The county and the property owner are negotiating over the estimated value of the building, Fischer said.

Another similar project along Maryland is slotted for 2014 -- the intersection at Payne Avenue will similarly be reconstructed to accommodate left-turn lanes, in hopes of reducing accidents there.

For more information and updates on the construction projects, visit

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at

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This seems like a no-brainer to prevent accidents on Maryland Avenue.  Perhaps the police department should enforce the speed limit around the clock on Maryland Avenue from White Bear Avenue to Victoria Avenue.  It is a stretch of street that someone is probably 10 to 20 mph over the speed limit.  Is the Police Department scared to bust speeders?  It would be better use of their time instead of writing tickets for people parked 6 inches over the imaginary line near corners and fire hydrants.

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