Lakeville road expansion plans to affect businesses

Lakeville City Council cites concerns

lv 50 10:11:13The Lakeville City Council accepted Dakota County’s draft study conclusions regarding County Road 50 expansion and roundabout plans at its Oct. 7 meeting, but emphasized more work is needed to resolve issues.

The draft study recommends replacing the traffic signal at County Road 50 and County Road 60 (185th Street) with a multilane roundabout.

Council Member Kerrin Swecker cited concerns about how the study’s recommendations against adding a signal at 192nd Street, Kenwood Trail Middle School’s north access, could affect school traffic.

Kenwood Trail Middle School’s only public road access is County Road 50, and 192nd Street is its northern drive.

The draft study found the area does not have high accident counts, and the topography of the land is not conducive to installing a signal at that location.

Assistant County Engineer Brian Sorenson said a signal there could reduce delays at that intersection, but it would not reduce delays at any other intersections along County Road 50, a main thoroughfare through the city.

Swecker advocated for a signal at 192nd Street and asked for more input from school officials to be included in the study.

Sorenson said district officials have been involved in the study process and the county’s long-term access plan is to put a signal at the intersection.

He said the study also found the best way to reduce delays on County Road 50 is to expand it to four lanes.

“When you go to four lanes, the (traffic) gaps really start to open up,” Sorenson said.

Widening the road is expected to affect several long-standing businesses between Ipava Avenue and Icenic Avenue. Sorenson said right-of-way space to widen the road will have to come from the businesses’ properties because the federally protected Canadian Pacific Railway across the street is not interested in selling its property.

“If we move forward with the project here in the next few years, we’re going to have to work around that corridor,” Sorenson said. “Which means any expansion of the road is going to have to head the other way.”

Affected businesses identified in the study are Lakeville Dental, White Funeral Homes, McDonald Eye Care, Farmshow Publishing and Kindernook Preschool. Their parking lots may be reduced, and the road work could restrict accesses to right-only turns in and out.

Swecker and Council Member Colleen LaBeau emphasized the need to consider the needs of businesses. County officials said they intend to work closely with the businesses to research alternatives and options.

Council Member Bart Davis said the city and county are “working collectively as a team” to take businesses’ concerns into account as they plan for the road expansion.

“This speaks volumes that we recognize we’re close and we need to address it,” he said.

City Administrator Steve Mielke said there could be a break in the planned median to improve access to the businesses.

By passing the resolution, Mielke said the council was accepting the completed study’s findings that set a time frame of 2017 for widening the road from 185th Street to Ipava Avenue.

He said the draft plan recognizes more interaction with businesses is needed, and further detailed study efforts will focus on ways to determine design solutions that minimize the impacts of the road work as much as possible.

“There’s no question the concerns of those business owners have been heard and are reflected in the findings as well as the resolution of support,” Mielke said.

The draft plan also identifies options to provide a second access to the Jaguar Avenue neighborhood.