Dangerous Highway 36 intersection awarded money; area legislators applaud funding

The traffic lights at the busy Hadley Avenue and Highway 36 in Oakdale have long been a safety concern, and last week the Transportation Economic Development (TED) program announced that the intersection has been selected to receive $4 million to convert it into a freeway-style interchange.

The project also includes a tunnel under Highway 36 for the popular Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s Gateway Trail, which is used by cyclists and pedestrians.

A Mills Fleet Farm convenience store and Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning are located on the north side of the intersection.

The total project cost is estimated at around $19 million, and bids will start being accepted for the project in 2018.

The TED program pays for projects with a specific economic benefit to a community.

State Sen. Chuck Wiger, DFL-Maplewood, and Rep. Leon Lillie, DFL-North St. Paul, have long advocated for funding to fix this particular interchange.

“This is great news for our community,” Lillie said. “Upgrading the Hadley intersection will improve safety, reduce congestion, help businesses move products quicker, and provide an outstanding traffic bypass for pedestrians and bicycles on the Gateway Trail. This is a grand-slam for our community.”

Wiger added, “As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I’m all too aware of the great need for transportation infrastructure investment across the state. I’d like to thank both the Department of Transportation and DEED for these TED dollars, which are going to help fix a very dangerous intersection that has been a problem for the city of Oakdale for many years.

“This money will help drive further economic development in this region, and for that I’m very grateful,” Wiger said.

The total TED grant money awarded this year totaled $32 million for 11 state highway projects. The TED money is leveraging more than $119 million from public and private partners that derive a direct benefit from the transportation improvement project

The lighted intersection at Highway 120 (commonly known as Century Avenue) just a little further west on Highway 36 is also congested and creates long traffic backups during the morning and evening rush hours.

Both Wiger and Lillie said they hope to secure future funding to fix this intersection as well.

 

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