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Construction begins Tuesday on busy west metro interchange project

May 20, 2019 10:14 PM

A major road construction project is set to begin Tuesday in the west metro.

Crews will start work to replace the Rockford Road Bridge, also known as the County Road 9 Bridge, over Interstate 494 in Plymouth.

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The interchange can be challenging to get through, especially during rush hour, and city leaders believe the project is a long time coming for the entire west metro, not just for people who live in Plymouth.

Plymouth Public Works Director Michael Thompson says, on average, there are 33 crashes at the interchange every year, and the outdated design, mixed with 40,000 vehicles daily, creates a bottleneck.

"One of the problems we're solving is expanding the lanes, dedicated dual left turn lanes for both ramp approaches and we're trying to address the safety issues," said Thompson.

While leaders hope the project will create less congestion and fewer crashes, the three phase project means closing all the ramps to and from I-494 and shutting down access to the bridge.

"The bridge is going to be taken down, a new one built," Thompson said.

The work will be spread out, but detours, including Schmidt Lake Road and Highway 55, will be crucial for drivers to get around. As for employers, the city even has an on-call business liaison specifically for this project.


More from KSTP:

State Funding Could Speed Up Improvements to Often-Congested Hennepin County Interchange

Construction on busy Plymouth interchange set to start in May


"We want to be very thoughtful about how people are getting around, how people can get to businesses," Thompson said. 

When it's done, even walkers like Isreal Willis will notice improved paths.

"Definitely sounds great, people can actually walk and go and not have to feel so endangered when you're going across," said Willis, who lives in Plymouth.  

"I would just urge patience because in the long run this is going to be a great investment for this city and our businesses," Thompson said. 

The work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Although the planned dates of completion can change, the project is scheduled to be completed in the following three phases:

  • Phase I: Starting Tuesday through the most of the month of June, the ramps on the north side of the bridge (the ramp from County Road 9 to northbound I-494 and the ramp from southbound I-494 to County Road 9) are set to be closed, although the bridge will be open to traffic during this phase.
  • Phase II: The bridge will close near the end of June for roughly 120 days so the existing bridge can be removed and the new bridge installed. This part of the project could also require crews to close I-494 on nights or weekends.
  • Phase III: After the new bridge is installed, both ramps on the south side of the bridge (the ramp from County Road 9 to southbound I-494 and the ramp from northbound I-494 to County Road 9) will close, which will take place from roughly the start of October until mid to late November, weather permitting.

The City of Plymouth website says the pedestrian bridge will be closed for the entire duration of the project.

You can find more information on the project here.

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Credits

Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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