Edina Moves to Combat Added Neighborhood Congestion Caused by 169 Project

February 27, 2017 10:48 PM

A months-long construction project on a Highway 169 bridge in Edina has prompted thousands of motorists to look for alternate routes, raising concerns in nearby neighborhoods.

Since Jan. 23, traffic has increased in the Parkwood Knolls neighborhood by 500 percent, according to Chad Millner, the project's director of engineering.

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"We shouldn't be more than 2,000 to 3,000 cars a day at the high end of local streets, so I'm concerned with the volume," Millner said.

RELATED: Portions of Highway 169 Closes Monday for 10 Months

There are public safety concerns as well. Millner confirms added congestion, cases of road rage, excessive speeding and drivers going around school buses picking up children. 

Some measures have already been taken. Stop signs were posted in the middle of blocks. Barricades were set up to reduce two-lane streets to allow only one car to pass at a time, and signs were posted urging drivers to take turns.  

Millner says the strategy helped, to a point: the traffic count dropped by 25 percent.

RELATED: Highway 169 to Close in January for Nine Mile Creek Bridge Project

Monday, more deterrents popped up at two intersections. Malibu Drive at Lincoln Street is closed to eastbound traffic during the morning rush hour, and Dovre Drive at Lincoln Street is exit-only during the evening rush hour.

On the first day of the five-day trial run of new road blocks, resident Amy Salmon has seen a difference.

"It's been glorious, we're getting our neighborhood back," she said.

City officials will review traffic data at the end of the week and see if things improve, or if more restrictions are need.

Officers are posted at the two new locations to enforce traffic laws.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is paying for the extra patrols and construction equipment, streets signs and barricades.


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