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St. Paul City Council to mull $7.5M plan to renovate Ayd Mill Road

Updated: February 16, 2020 10:17 PM

It’s no secret to many metro-area drivers that Ayd Mill Road in St. Paul can be a rough ride.  

Potholes and torn-up asphalt are the biggest headaches. 

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“It’s so brutal, so bumpy,” says Amanda Henke, who lives nearby. “I mean, I think that’s why sometimes we avoid it.”

Ayd Mill runs diagonally through the city, running from Interstate 35E to Selby Avenue. There’s a link-up to Interstate 94 via Selby and Snelling Avenues. The most recent milling and paving on the road was in 2003. 

Another sign of this aging roadway? A collection of hubcaps stacked up along the shoulder. 

“It’s so badly paved, it’s terrible,” saidFlo Manley, a lifelong St. Paul resident. 

The road is a sharp contrast to the smooth ice rink she was visiting with her grandson on Sunday. Manley says repair work can’t come soon enough. 

“That should have already been done,” she said. “Repave the whole thing. Shut her down and repave it.”  

But now the price tag for this project is changing. Last summer, planners were considering a $3.5 million cost. More recent estimates were closer to $10 million. 

Now on the table: a $7.5 million reconstruction plan. 

It would convert Ayd Mill into a three-lane road: one lane northbound and two southbound. There would also be a lane for bicyclists and walkers, separated from the northbound lane by a concrete curb. 

“I think they should do it,” said Chad West of St. Paul. “It definitely needs improvement. It can be used a lot more, I think, if they invest some money.” 

Most of the funding would come from nearly $6 million in municipal bonds; the rest would be drawn from the city budget. The project would include new drainage work and lighting. 

Manley says she is not a fan of building a new bike lane. And she, like many in the neighborhood, wonder about the traffic impact of an improved road.  

“It already is trafficky on Ayd Mill Road. It’s hooking up to 35, everybody cuts right down to Selby Avenue, down to the thing,” Manley says. “Do not put a bike path down it. That is stupid, it goes onto a main interstate.” 

The Cty Council is scheduled to discuss the plan on Wednesday. 

But many people driving this bumpy urban roadway are ready for a change.

“I’ve dodged plenty of potholes during my time living in St. Paul, which has been about 10 years, and it’s pretty hazardous,” West said.

“Potholes are terrible,” Henke added. “Since it’s there, we might as well make it usable.” 

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Richard Reeve

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