Hwy 3/Hwy 19 transportation study open house on Wednesday

There will be a public open house for input to the multimodal transportation study for Highway 3 /Highway 19 at 7:00p.m. this coming Wednesday, July 22, at the Armory.

The study area includes TH 3 from the bridge over the Cannon River to the bridge over the railroad north of St. Olaf Avenue; and TH 19/5th Street from the Odd Fellows Lane to the bridge over the Cannon River. Maps and background information are available on the project page for the study.

From the project page:

Purpose of Study – The purpose of this study is to identify and evaluate potential grade-separation concepts that would promote and enhance non-motorized transportation and build a more cohesive community. The study was identified in the transportation plan as a priority to look at modal integration issues. Recently an opportunity to apply for a transportation grant (TIGER) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was presented. Award of a grant could potentially fund a significant part of a multi-million dollar project to improve modal integration in this corridor. The study is necessary in preparing a competitive grant application and gaining support from project partners. However, like other programs funded through the ARRA, the funds need to be encumbered relatively soon.

Background – TH 19 and TH 3 present various transportation challenges to travelers in the Northfield area. The expanse of the highways and speed of vehicles moving through the area create obstacles in connecting pedestrians and bicyclists to and from different parts of the City. In particular, non-motorized mobility needs to be improved to connect northwest Northfield and St. Olaf to the downtown, as well as across TH 19. Given the traffic volumes and the width of highway to cross, a grade separated non-motorized crossing has been recommended in the City’s Transportation Plan.

Additionally, the north and south junction intersections of TH 19 and TH 3 are currently near congested or congested during the morning and evening peak travel periods of the day and are forecasted to be congested in the future. The City is planning for a future transit hub to be potentially located near the southwest quadrant of the south junction of the intersection in close proximity to the Mill Towns Trail and existing rail line. The City is underway with this study to carefully consider how all modes of traffic and transportation users will be able to safely and efficiently access the future transit hub in conjunction with completion of the TIGER funding application. This is especially important given the high traffic volumes on TH 19, short distance between the railroad tracks and the TH 19 / TH 3 intersection, and heavy truck traffic in the area. This project is considering the feasibility and configuration of potential grade separated concepts of TH 19.

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