MnDOT Considers 2 Solutions for Heavy Traffic on Stretch of I-494

Updated: 02/13/2014 12:36 PM
Created: 02/12/2014 5:20 PM
By: Todd Wilson

Drivers who commute on I-494 between Highway 55 and East Fish Lake Road say it is the worst road to drive on in the Plymouth area.

"I just kind of expect it and it's another 10-15 minutes to my commute, but it's all the time every night," one driver said.

One driver was much more blunt about the interstate. "It's horrible. It usually starts anywhere from 2:30 in the afternoon till usually about 6:30, sometimes 7 p.m."

Bobbie Dahlke of MnDOT says they were planning on fixing this problem in 2010. Funding issues came up so they had to scale back the project and were looking to add a dynamic shoulder. The temporary fix would only be open during times of peak traffic. But now, a decision has been put on hold to give them time to figure out what they are going to build.

"... We would re-look at the possibility of a dynamic shoulder vs. adding an extra lane," she said. Dahlke says to put in a new lane on this stretch of road is about $25 million.

The five-mile stretch has been a topic of discussion for nearly two decades.

Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik says she believes it is more cost effective to have the third lane. "It makes much more sense to do it right the first time to spend that money wisely, otherwise you would have to come back in another 15-20 years and do the whole project again," she said.

Once again, funding is a problem. Mayor Slavik says she will visit the State Capitol later this month to talk about the issue. The Met Council would still have to approve the added lane.

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