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

June 22, 2018 06:03 PM

City leaders in Plymouth say Rockford Road Bridge/County Road 9 over Interstate 494 is a public safety hazard, but improvements could be on the way.

New state funding could speed up the upgrades to an interchange that sees roughly 40,000 vehicles every day. 

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The city of Plymouth estimates 33 crashes happen there every year.

RELATED: I-35W, I-494 Interchange To Get Major Makeover

"That's much higher than a normal intersection in our community," said Dave Callister, Plymouth city manager. 

"It's probably frustrating to me and my co-workers that I'm always like 5-10 minutes late," said Vanessa Murray.

Murray often drives through this area for work and notices a slow down at this point in her commute.

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"It can really ruin someone's whole day if that's what they're going through on their way to work every morning," Murray said. 

Callister said the bridge is old and is often congested. 

"It's falling apart, there's concrete missing, there's rust in some of the steel," Callister said. 

RELATED: Lack of Turn Lanes at Rockford Road Overpass Causes Headaches

Plus, Callister said a lack of protected turning lanes onto the interstate results in long backups.

"I just allow an extra 5-10 minutes usually," Murray said. 

Just last summer when 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talked to Callister about this project, he questioned if upgrades would be done before 2022 because of funding. But this year, the city secured nearly $10 million from Gov. Mark Dayton's bonding bill.

RELATED: Downtown Detours: Major Closures Coming to I-35W, I-94

"Having that big piece of funding is critical," Callister said. 

Now the city is looking at three different design options, but leaning towards one called the diamond interchange that includes designated turn lanes. 

"Once the bridge is implemented and turn lanes are put in and it's a wider bridge it's going to increase safety and reduce congestion," Callister said. 

With just a bit more funding to close the gap, city leaders are confident drivers will see smoother commutes very soon. 

"I probably won't be late for work anymore," Murray said. 

Best-case scenario, Callister believes construction could start as early as next year. He said they're still waiting to figure out where they can get extra funding from the Minnesota Department of Transportation or Hennepin County. 

There is an open house coming up in July at a date to be determined where you can learn more about all these options. You can learn more about them by clicking here.

Credits

Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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