Lake Street reconstruction nears completion
When Hennepin County crews painted the white stripes on West Lake Street Oct. 30, it marked an end to this year’s major reconstruction along the busy corridor.
And business owners, no doubt, rejoiced.
“They are very happy,” Project Manager Don Shaffer said of owners who have had to endure the four-year project. “Some businesses are coming back, but some didn’t make it so well.”
As the bags are lifted from the parking meters and a few electrical loose ends are tied, only a final layer of 2-inch blacktop remains to be done — and that should be in place by mid-June 2009. Shaffer said that the road looks better, and all four lanes are now open, along with new light poles, signals, and curbs.
While he said everyone seems to be happy with the way it looks, the reconstruction perhaps came at a more personal cost greater than the $25 million price tag.
“Some businesses closed because they weren’t doing well before we got there,” Shaffer said. “But some [businesses failures] might have sped up once we got there.”
Roadwork caused large stretches of Lake Street to be closed, two lanes at a time, during the reconstruction, which often limited vehicle access to businesses.
Buses were rerouted recently along 31st Street from Nicollet to Bryant but were expected to return to their regular routes soon.
35W demolition causes switch
Demolition will cause a few switches along southbound Interstate 35W.
Due to the demolition of the old 35W southbound lanes, those wishing to get onto state Highway 62 west, must be in the left lanes, while those wishing to go to 62 east (the airport exit), must be in the right.
In addition, motorists headed toward the Crosstown on I-35W, south of 60th Street, will find themselves in the former northbound lanes, which have been switched during construction on the southbound lanes.
The Crosstown Commons is the sometimes-treacherous area where Highway 62 and I-35W meet at the Minneapolis-Richfield border. The second stage of the four-year project began in June 2008. Work during this stage includes the traffic switches and extensive work in the Commons area through July 2009.
Beginning in August 2009, the final stage of work will include the rebuilding of the northbound I-35W lanes, and completion of work in the Commons. The $300 million project should be done by winter 2010.
Bad vibes from Crosstown construction? Who you gonna call?
Recently, the Minnesota Department of Transportation began monitoring vibrations from heavy machinery working along the Crosstown, and will soon begin to preemptively inspect homes that could potentially be damaged as a result.
Following complaints from homeowners near the Crosstown that claim construction practices such as pile driving can be detrimental to their homes, MnDOT has begun “precondition surveys” on homes within 225 feet of heavy work. The surveys will consist of two inspectors who will document the home as it is by taking photos, video and field notes.
Those who reside beyond the 225-foot boundary are responsible for their own documentation — either with photos or video imprinted with a date.
The surveys are meant to determine the current condition of homes, which can then be compared with their condition after experiencing the bad vibrations.
A MnDOT update says vibrations also can come from planes, slamming doors, traffic and wind. Still, it’s asking contractor Ames/Lunda/Schafer to keep the vibrations to a minimum in populated areas.
Homeowners will be notified by mail up to three months before work that could cause heavy vibrations commences. Individuals are also responsible for calling and setting up an appointment with an inspector.
If damage has already occurred, homeowners can contact MnDOT via the Crosstown Hotline, 1-866-743-6590.
Counties Transit Improvement Board OKs $86 million for rail, buses
A whopping $86 million in grants for commuter rail, light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit projects was approved Oct. 29 by a multicounty transportation board.
“These grants meet immediate transit needs in the region,” said Peter McLaughlin, Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) chair.
The Central Corridor LRT — a light-rail that would connect downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul by 2014 — will receive much of the approved funding.
The Metropolitan Council and Washington County will also receive funds for bus services.
The grants were awarded for capital and operating costs for a variety of commuter rail, light rail and bus rapid transit projects, including:
• $30.8 million, for a one-time deficit relief payment to the Met Council;
• $26 million for Central Corridor light rail’s design, engineering, property acquisition and utility relocation; and
• $7.5 million for the Hiawatha Light Rail.
This is the first round of grants provided by the transit sales tax established by the 2008 state Transportation Bill and enacted by Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties, which make up CTIB.