Eden Prairie road projects planned to address housing developments

Public Works officials are bracing themselves for what could be some very busy construction seasons in the coming years.

Reconstruction of several major roads in Eden Prairie including Eden Prairie Road, Flying Cloud Drive and Highway 101 will likely coincide with not only each other, but also the construction of the Southwest Light Rail, which is expected to begin in 2015 and be complete by 2018.

At the June 18 City Council meeting, council adopted a resolution authorizing the preparation of a feasibility report for street and utility improvements to serve the area adjacent to Eden Prairie Road from approximately Frederick Place to Flying Cloud Drive.

“We ordered the development of feasibility to detail the very preliminary design of how it might connect with Flying Cloud,” Public Works Director Robert Ellis said.

Due to recent discussions with area residents and the City Council regarding the Eden Prairie Road improvements south of Riley Creek, there has been interest in pursuing the next phase of the project: an improved Eden Prairie Road connection to Flying Cloud Drive. A feasibility study will provide further analysis and engineering to determine the scope of the project, the estimated project costs and an assessment methodology. In addition, with Hennepin County’s scheduled project to reconstruct Flying Cloud Drive within the next couple of years, the city plans to coordinate the Eden Prairie Road connection project with those proposed improvements.

So far, city staff have discussed several options for improving Eden Prairie Road. The first option considered would cost $7 million, not including right-of-way costs. This option would have an 8 percent steep grade profile and significant retaining walls. Staff were not satisfied with this option were looking for a way to ease the financial and environmental impacts of the project, according to Ellis.

With that in mind, they developed another option that costs just $2.5 million with a 10 percent grade and 20 feet retaining walls. Presently they are continuing to look at options to reduce the footprint of the project.

“We’re taking a closer look,” Ellis said. “I think we can get the financial and environmental impacts even lower.”

With the City Council action on Nov. 20, 2012, the construction plans and specifications are currently being prepared with an anticipated construction beginning this fall. In conjunction with the Eden Prairie Road planning, city staff is working on modifications to the Eden Prairie Road South of Riley Creek Feasibility Report to address concerns regarding the assessment methodology and will be presenting recommended changes to the feasibility report at a future public hearing.

More than 350 new residential properties have popped up in the area at the recent developments of The Ridge at Riley Creek, The Meadows at Riley Creek, Eden Prairie Woods, as well as recent subdivision applications. With the preparation of a feasibility report for the Eden Prairie Road connection to Flying Cloud Drive, the city will provide a more thorough analysis of the entire Eden Prairie Road corridor and its proposed financing. These proposed improvements will provide city utilities for the remaining undeveloped parcels, as well as improved street access to the entire area, according to city documents.

The next step will involve public works staff bringing a professional services agreement to a future city council meeting for approval. This agreement will define the scope of services to provide assistance in the preparation of the feasibility report.
Other projects

Flying Cloud Drive construction is anticipated to be completed in 2015. Construction will span from Highway 101 up to Charlson Road where C.H. Robinson is located. This project is a total reconstruction of the road, making the street two lanes with a center turn lane and right turn lanes at key intersections.

The plan also involves adding a trail on the north side and raising elevation to bring the road out of the floodplain. This is a project of Hennepin County, Carver County, Chanhassen, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Eden Prairie. The city has hosted several open houses to discuss the project and plan to have more meetings in fall of this year.

Highway 101 construction is planned to start before Flying Cloud Drive’s project and be completed sometime between 2014-2015. The project is led by Carver County, Scott County and MnDOT. While parts of the project are in Eden Prairie, the city is not involved in the implementation of the project. This project will construct a new four-lane Highway 101 bridge spanning the floodplain between the existing Highway 101 Minnesota River Bridge in Shakopee and County Road 61/Flying Cloud Drive in Chanhassen.

The project goal is to minimize transportation disruptions caused by seasonal flooding of the Minnesota River. Additionally, the Highway 101/County Road 61 “Y” intersection will be reconstructed as a roundabout to accommodate the new Highway 101 Bridge, future traffic growth, and future improvements to Highway 101 north of the project area.

Several other minor street projects are currently going on throughout Eden Prairie, but shouldn’t have much of an impact on residents, according to Ellis. Shady Oak Road construction will continue into the fall. Riverview Road is closed on the southeast end of town from Bell Oak Estates Road to Parker Drive for the construction of the Bellerieve development. Much of the current and future road construction projects are tied to the expansion of housing and construction of new developments in the area.

“People think we’ve built out as far as we can go, but it has picked up,” Ellis said. “The more people we get, the more we have out there driving. Making sure we have safe and efficient roads is crucial.”

City staff also plans to look into traffic conditions at Preserve Boulevard to see if there have been changes since the construction at the Highway 169/494 interchange. The busy street has been on and off the city’s capital improvement plan for several years.

Contact Natalie Conrad at natalie.conrad@ecm-inc.com.

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