September 26, 2018 07:05 PM
New safety improvements are planned along a stretch of a dangerous west metro highway.
For years, there have been calls from the community to take action after deadly crashes on Highway 12 between Cokato and Wayzata.
In December 2014, following multiple deadly crashes, a Rogers company volunteered to put in center rumble strips - hoping they would prevent cross-over crashes. But a crumbling road has forced MNDOT to make short-term pavement improvements within the last week.
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That work means some of the rumble strips have been paved over.
"There's a little bit of rumble strip left after they put the pavement over it," West Hennepin Police Chief Gary Kroells said.
Kroells said the timing wasn't ideal - coming right before winter, but the work was necessary.
"We did need to have it patched and the best solution was to do it now and redo it in the spring," he said.
That spring 2019 resurfacing project will pave the way for bigger improvements coming in 2021 in Independence where County Roads 90 and 92 intersect with Highway 12.
More concrete barriers will also go up between County Road 6 and Baker Park Road in Maple Plain.
Kari Johnson owns Yofi Performance Cosmetics. Her offices are perched up on the hill overlooking Highway 12 and County Road 90 in Independence.
"If I would have known about this intersection, I would have never moved my company out here," Johnson said.
From their offices, she and her co-workers have seen plenty of accidents and close calls.
Johnson said things are so bad she won't allow her high school employees to take Highway 12.
"It's so unsafe for them to take a left that I kind of demand that they go that direction and go home," she said.
And with the major work still more than two years out, Johnson said that might be too late.
"My lease is up in April and I may not renew just because of this intersection - because it's not safe," she said.
Part of the wait is due to funding.
The 2021 project will cost about $22 million. There is an open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Independence City Hall to discuss some of the possible changes.
Updated: September 26, 2018 07:05 PM
Created: September 26, 2018 05:36 PM
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