BRT construction forces buses off Cedar Avenue
Lane closures likely to last through fall
by Laura Adelmann
Construction of Minnesota’s first Bus Rapid Transit project is forcing buses off Cedar Avenue in Apple Valley until the corridor opens in November.
Minnesota Valley Transit Authority buses will be re-routed off the Cedar Avenue corridor starting Monday, as construction of the bus-only shoulders force lane closures, detours and traffic snarls through the heart of Apple Valley.
As long planned, BRT construction has migrated north, and the road’s northbound lanes will close from County Road 42 to south of Upper 136th Street starting March 26.
Southbound lane closures are expected to begin in April.
Some lanes will remain open and signs will alert drivers of lane closures that are expected to change as work progresses, said Ross Beckwith, lead engineer for Cedar Avenue BRT.
The project’s vast construction activities will shut down northbound and southbound bus stops on Cedar by Monday, and it is undetermined when they will reopen.
“We’re starting to get into full bore construction on Cedar Avenue for Bus Rapid Transit,” said MVTA customer service manager Robin Selvig. “The delays are expected to be very, very significant.”
The Apple Valley Transit Station at 155th and Cedar Avenue is closed while work is done to expand the platform and canopy area to accommodate the BRT vehicles, according to Selvig.
Despite the detours, MVTA bus service in the area will still be available to riders.
Riders can board buses at the “old” Apple Valley Transit Station on Gaslight Drive.
“We anticipate the new AVTS opening in June,” Selvig wrote in an email to Thisweek, “but (Dakota County) has some roadway work to do in front of the station before we can complete our work.”
Alternate MVTA bus routes include the 420, a flex bus route that can go off-route within the service area to drop off and pick up passengers, and the 440 that operates along Galaxie Avenue and stops for riders who signal the driver.
Riders can arrange flex route pick ups by calling (952) 882-6000 to schedule a reservation. It is recommended riders call at least two hours before their desired pick-up time; callers can also arrange a standing reservation.
Route information and trip planners are available on www.mvta.com.
Beckwith said construction of Minnesota’s first BRT project will take workers more than 7 feet below the street this summer as they install water and sewer lines.
He anticipated two lanes being open to accommodate morning and evening rush hour times, and the area closing to one lane the rest of the time.
The next buses to run the Cedar Avenue corridor will be BRT buses, boasting a design that Dakota County Commissioner Paul Krause of Lakeville said is sleek and well-suited to the Apple Valley and Lakeville area.
“I think (the buses) give us a look people can identify with,” Krause said. “I think they are as futuristic as we could get them, and it’s a bus we can be proud of.”