Inver Grove Heights delays municipal consent for Highway 3 project


Work on Highway 3 slated for next year would be from Highway 149 to Ann Marie Trail, and Highway 149 from Highway 3 to Rich Valley Boulevard, which is also County Road 71. Residents’ concerns over the proposed work prompted the Inver Grove Heights City Council to delay giving municipal consent for the project to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. submitted graphics

After several residents voiced concerns over loss of property and privacy issues, the Inver Grove Heights City Council delayed municipal consent for a Highway 3 reconstruction project at its July 24 meeting.

Scott Thureen, public works director, said municipal consent is needed because of right-of-way acquisitions that are part of the Minnesota Department of Transportation project.

MnDOT is slated to appear at the Sept. 25 council meeting after it has met with residents and the council will decide on granting municipal consent at the same meeting.

 

Final plans

Molly Kline, an area engineer for MnDOT, told the council the project would focus on Highway 3 between Highway 149 to Ann Marie Trail, and also include work on Highway 149 from Highway 3 to Rich Valley Boulevard. The estimated cost of the project is $5.2 million, with construction slated to start in the summer of 2018.

Planned work on Highway 3 includes grading and tree removal, resurfacing on Highway 149, drainage improvements, an intersection modification at Highway 3 and Rich Valley Boulevard to add turn lanes, as well as adding a southbound Highway 3 bypass lane at 93rd Street.

“Highway 3 is anticipated to have a good pavement surface for the next 20 years, as well as Highway 149 for the next 10 years, with these improvements,” Kline said.

During the project, Highway 3 is slated to have closures in three stages for the reconstruction. Pavement resurfacing on Highway 149 is planned to be completed without a full closure.

Kline said all residences along highways 3 and 149 would remain open, with access shifted depending on construction.

This project is one of three projects on Highway 3 planned for next summer. Another project will install a roundabout at 70th Street, and the city has work planned at the new 65th Street intersection. 

“All of these projects are being very closely coordinated to make sure the detour routes are coherent and we don’t send you from the end of one detour route into another one,” Kline said.

A regional detour is anticipated from Interstate 494 to Highway 149, which will bypass all three projects. Kline said there will be regional detours for each project, as well.

 

 

Hesitation from council

Council member Rosemary Piekarski Krech said she has gotten a few phone calls and had “several discussions at church” with residents concerned about losing portions of their lots during the work, and others who live in the area of Rich Valley Boulevard who are worried about their privacy.

Piekarski Krech asked Kline what MnDOT is doing to minimize headlights pointing into yards and “those kinds of things.”

Kline said MnDOT would work with property owners during negotiations to minimize problems, but offered no specifics.

“I have hesitation to approve this when I don’t know that my residents are going to be protected,” Piekarski Krech said. 

Piekarski Krech said the planned project will change a number of things for longtime residents and that while she wants Highway 3 updated, she also respects the property rights of the people who have been in the city for a significant amount of time.

Mike Kruse, a MnDOT project manager, said the department’s process is laid out in state law and provides protections for property owners’ rights. He added it’s difficult to provide a guarantee of satisfaction, because municipal consent is needed so negotiations can start.

 

 

Resident concerns

Beyond the presentation from MnDOT, there was a public hearing.

Joe Hamlin lives on Rich Valley Boulevard. He said with the realignment of the road, headlights from cars will be shining directly on his house, something that doesn’t currently happen.

“I’m asking for something to be done, as far as screening for the noise and headlights. I’d really like to see it in plans before you give consent so I don’t have to go through the whole legal process,” he said.

Miriam Aymond was another Rich Valley Boulevard resident at the meeting and she read a letter written by her husband, Dave. 

One of the main areas of concern raised in his letter was that all Rich Valley Boulevard traffic will pass through one busy intersection. 

“I have no doubt in my mind that this additional traffic will add congestion to the overall traffic situation,” the letter said, noting the project aims to improve the roadways, though it wouldn’t be a real improvement.

Other residents said they backed the project.

 

A delay

Mayor George Tourville said the council has 90 days to either grant or deny municipal consent, and said that time could be used to address some of the concerns raised at the meeting.

Kline said MnDOT could work with residents in that time frame, before coming back before the council.

The council decided to keep the public hearing open and have MnDOT come back in 60 days, on Sept. 25, at which time it will revisit municipal consent.

 

Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or hburlingame@lillienews.com


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