Pedestrian bridge over 13 now considered a good bet

Burnsville will seek federal funds

Once a longshot to gain federal funding, a pedestrian bridge over Highway 13 at Nicollet Avenue in Burnsville is now considered a good bet.

The bridge, which city officials have studied for years, is “a much more desirable discussion now for the city of Burnsville than it was in the past,” Public Works Director Steve Albrecht told the City Council at an Aug. 15 work session.

The chief reason is full funding and approval of the Orange Line bus rapid transit line on Interstate 35W, which will have two stations in Burnsville — including the Nicollet Avenue Station at Nicollet and 13. The station is expected to open by late 2020, Albrecht said.

Between the Orange Line and the existing Burnsville Transit Station on Highway 13, the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority’s busiest bus station, the intersection will have about 4,000 transit riders per day, Albrecht said.

The likelihood of more high-density residential development in the Heart of the City and the addition of the Black Dog regional trail to the north bolster the case for another pedestrian connection.

Crossing Highway 13 on foot at Nicollet is dangerous, Council Member Dan Kealey said.

“Obviously, there is an existing issue there with seven lanes of traffic to cross,” Albrecht said.

Daily traffic volumes are 35,500 vehicles on 13 and 16,000 on Nicollet, according to the city.

Council members agreed to apply for federal funding next year and tentatively pencil $750,000 into the city’s capital improvements plan to cover its share. The bridge is supported by the MVTA, Dakota County and Metro Transit.

The project, estimated at $4 million, is eligible for about $2.5 million in federal money, with funding possible in 2022-23. The city and county would each contribute about $750,000.

The best, and most expensive, option would have bridge crossings over both 13 and Nicollet, Albrecht said. Other options include a 13 bridge on the east side of Nicollet, where most of the pedestrian traffic is, and a tunnel underneath the highway, Albrecht said.