Hennepin County is set to begin a $1.5 million project that aims to improve the intersection of West Lake Street & Excelsior Boulevard, a common point of vehicle backups and long pedestrian crossings in Southwest Minneapolis.
The project aims to improve the experience for pedestrians by adding multiple islands and for vehicle traffic by simplifying the convergence of the two county roads near Bde Maka Ska.
“This has been an intersection we’ve been looking at making improvements to for some time,” said Hennepin County transportation spokesperson Colin Cox.
Crews will begin preliminary work in late August, with more noticeable activity to start in September, Cox said. The project is scheduled for completion in 2020, with the bulk of heavier work taking place next year. Some brief lane closures are expected during the daytime this year.
A new, landscaped island will be added to the intersection, designed to shrink crossing distances for pedestrians on the north side of the exchange. Two new crosswalks will connect to the island, which will realign the Lake Street vehicle lanes to make a more compact intersection that westbound drivers will approach at a nearly 90-degree angle.
Medians will be extended along Excelsior Boulevard to create landscaped pedestrian islands on the south side of the intersection by shrinking existing left turn lanes.
All curb ramps will be updated to ensure they meet ADA standards.
The area is a hotbed of construction activity currently, with the new eight-story LakeHaus apartment building under construction on West Lake Street and the upcoming demolition of the BP gas station near the intersection to make way for a new hotel and condo project.
The project emerged out of the West Lake Multimodal Transportation Study of 2016.
“I think the experiences will be quite a bit different for people traveling in that area,” Cox said.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the height of the eight-story LakeHaus apartment building.