Dakota County is planning to resurface and make improvements to 80th Street (County Road 28) in Inver Grove Heights.
In addition to resurfacing, the county is proposing to modify the roadway from four lanes to three lanes between Bowman Avenue and Cahill Avenue. This includes one through lane in each direction and a center left-turn lane. The roadway would have 8-foot shoulders and a pedestrian refuge median at the entrance to Simley High School (Boyd Avenue). The overall width between the curbs would not change. Expanded medians would also be constructed at the signalized intersection at Cahill Avenue.
Independent School District 199 and the City of Inver Grove Heights identified several concerns near Simley High School including high vehicle speeds and pedestrian crossing safety. The planned resurfacing gave an opportunity to address these concerns.
Goals of the project
- Maintaining and improving the roadway surface.
- Improving pedestrian safety near Simley High School
- Slowing vehicle speeds in the school zone
- Improving safety for drivers
- Ensuring adequate traffic flow through the area
Improving pedestrian safety
The proposed crossing improvement at the Boyd Avenue intersection will simplify the crossing for pedestrians because it allows a pedestrian to focus on crossing one lane of traffic at a time. The median provides the pedestrian space to wait and confirm approaching drivers are stopping. Pedestrian medians also make pedestrian crossings more visible to drivers.
According to the
Federal Highway Administration, these medians can reduce pedestrian crashes by 46 percent.
In addition, it can be difficult for pedestrians to see oncoming vehicles and for drivers to see pedestrians in the crossing when there are multiple travel lanes in the same direction. Three-lane roadways remove the scenario where one car stops for a pedestrian to cross but the driver in the car in the adjacent lane cannot see the pedestrian and does not stop.
Fewer lanes could slow down drivers
Having fewer travel lanes could decrease speeds because vehicles can travel only as fast as the vehicle ahead of them. The raised pedestrian median can also make the roadway feel constrained.
Improving safety for drivers
Three-lane roadways can reduce vehicle crashes on suburban roadways by 47 percent compared to four-lane undivided roadways, according to the
Federal Highway Administration. The proposal provides dedicated space for left-turning vehicles and more space between moving vehicles and pedestrians.
Ensuring good traffic flow
The proposed roadway changes provide more than enough capacity to handle projected traffic growth to 2040. Traffic counts at intersections during peak travel periods show that the proposed changes would not negatively impact traffic flow.
A dedicated left-turn lane means left turn vehicles won't block vehicles behind them while waiting for a gap in traffic approaching from the opposing direction.
There are several other three-lane roadways in the county that carry as much or more traffic than 80th Street, including County Road 56 (Concord Street) and County Road 14 (Mendota Road) in Inver Grove Height, and County Road 8 (Wentworth) in West St. Paul.
The project is part of the county's regular pavement maintenance program. Most of the proposed changes will occur through lane striping modifications, which add no additional cost to the project. The pedestrian median at Boyd Avenue is a low-cost improvement funded through the county's traffic safety program. For information on how road projects are funded, please refer to the 2020-2024 Capital Improvement Program.
- All intersection curb ramps upgraded to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
- Pedestrian medians at the Cahill Avenue signalized intersection will be made larger.
Work is scheduled to begin on July 14 and should be complete by mid-August. Some additional details:
- The contractor will provide seven days notice of the project start through portable message signs on each end of the project at County Road 73 (Babcock Trail) and County Road 56 (Concord Boulevard).
- They will provide 72 hours notice of lane closures
- Working hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- They will start work on the westbound lanes and move to the eastbound lanes once those are complete.
Construction will cause lane closures during the work day.
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Questions and comments
For more information, contact Gina Mitteco, Dakota County Transportation, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-891-7114.