City of Lakeville recommends Interstate 35 improvements

Editor’s note: Lakeville Mayor Matt Little wrote the following as a letter to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.  

by Matt Little
Special to Sun Thisweek

I write this letter on behalf of the members of the Lakeville City Council, including: Council Member Doug Anderson, Council Member Colleen LaBeau, Council Member Kerrin Swecker and Council Member Bart Davis to promote and bring to your attention the funding and construction of additional travel lanes along Interstate 35 from County Road 46 to County Road 70.

As you are aware, the Interstate 35 corridor is the busiest, most heavily travelled highway corridor in Minnesota. Significant efforts have been made to reduce congestion, increase safety and improve traffic flow along this vital transportation roadway. Transit improvements made under the Urban Partnership Agreement in 2010 helped reduce the growth in traffic congestion by providing an effective alternative to automobile travelers for downtown commuters. However, the park-and-ride facility along Kenrick Avenue in Lakeville will soon reach capacity and it will be necessary to prepare for a new park and ride facility at County Road 70, as called for in Metropolitan Council’s comprehensive planning documents.

In addition, there is a need to expand the capacity of Interstate 35 in Lakeville to increase safety and improve traffic flow for those commuters not using transit. Today there is congestion from the southern border of Lakeville to County Road 46 due to a shortage of lane capacity. In addition, there have been over 300 crashes that have occurred in this section of Interstate 35 over the past three years including 125 injuries and four fatalities. The Federal Highway Administration has commented previously that additional lanes are warranted along this stretch of highway.

Improving this condition will increase safety and be beneficial to the region as it is the southern gateway for businesses, companies and the traveling public heading into the metropolitan area.  Improvements to Interstate 35 would also provide increased regional access to the County Road 70 corridor area and take full advantage of the recently completed interchange at County Road 70 promoting continued corporate, office, industrial, and commercial growth.

Lakeville strongly encourages the governor’s office to contact the Minnesota Department of Transportation to further investigate the possibility of including travel lane improvements to the Interstate 35 corridor through Lakeville from County Road 46 to County Road 70 in their 20-Year Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan.

We look forward to further discussing improvements to the Interstate 35 corridor through Lakeville with you. On behalf of the City Council, thank you for considering our concerns regarding this vital transportation artery and including the Interstate 35 improvements in MNDOT’s 20-Year Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan.

Matt Little is the mayor of Lakeville. Columns reflect the opinion of the author.