July 18, 2018 01:12 PM
The Vikings' new training facility in Eagan will start attracting thousands of people to the community and surrounding cities this summer.
The area where Twin Cities Orthopedic Performance Center now stands has been vacant for years. The land used to be the headquarters for Northwest Airlines.
Now all the new traffic is leaving some with questions.
Tom and Mary O'Neill have lived in a home less than a half a mile away from the new facility for decades.
They even have a road named after them.
"I've lived here or next door for 72 of my 73 years," Tom O'Neill said.
But now they have a new neighbor.
"We've always wondered who would come in, so Vikings sounded pretty neat," Mary O'Neill said.
But they wonder about the additional traffic.
"It's definitely been in our head," Mary O'Neill said.
That's why surrounding cities, Dakota County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation have all worked toward creating a plan to make things run smoothly once crowds arrive for events like training camp later this summer.
"This is a great location, it's always been intended for something major," said Tom Garrison, a spokesperson for the City of Eagan.
Garrison and the City of Eagan commissioned a study that lays out everything.
There are several potential choke-points, including different spots along Dodd Road to the west and Highway 55 approaching the complex from the southeast.
That's why they'll have traffic control officers, additional signage and controlled stoplights to adapt to traffic flow.
"There will be some choke-points, and part of it is getting the word out early so people know what to expect," Garrison said.
The Vikings anticipate a daily attendance of roughly 5,000 people for training camp. The city estimates even more for Saturday night scrimmages, concerts and high school events.
"We feel like we've got a good plan, but we're going to adjust that based on real-time information," Garrison said.
The surrounding Viking Lakes development includes plans for retail, hotels, housing and more. When it's finished, a Dakota County study expects the area will see up to 40,000 additional trips a day.
"I am a little concerned about people just walking on the property," Mary O'Neill said.
But overall, this Eagan couple is happy to welcome the new neighbors to the O'Neill block.
"The Vikings have personally contacted us about the traffic, and they are concerned and they want to make sure we're protected," Mary O'Neill said.
The Vikings say they want to be a good neighbor and hope this project succeeds for everyone.
For more information, visit a transportation PowerPoint presentation on the Dakota County website.
Updated: July 18, 2018 01:12 PM
Created: May 30, 2018 07:21 PM
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