Silver Lake Road to get a facelift

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If you see or saw people poking around along Silver Lake Road in St. Anthony between 37th Avenue and St. Anthony Boulevard this week, it’s because the road is scheduled to be rebuilt between April and November, 2007.

Consultants have been conducting a topographic survey. Meetings with the city, county and residents are already underway, the most recent an open house for residents on Jan. 23, 2006, with information on the construction and design. The city council recently approved Hennepin County transportation engineers’ preliminary concept plan, at a Feb. 14 council meeting.

A task force was formed and disbanded after its work was done; the St. Anthony City Council approved members for it in August, 2005, and the task force held its final meeting on Jan. 30, 2006.

The design will be finalized between March and December, 2006. Costs have yet to be determined. There will be another open house for residents in July, 2006.

Pete Lemke, design engineer with the Hennepin County transportation department, said Silver Lake Road might be widened slightly in the area of 37th Avenue because the shoulders could get wider. When asked if the road will be kept open during construction, he said they intend to allow people access to their homes and City Hall. And the fire station, 3505 Silver Lake Road, needs access in and out, he added.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do figuring out the construction staging plan. That will take those things into consideration. As to whether we would shut down the road or leave it open, or have it be one or two lanes, we don’t know yet.”

Consultants are on site this week, he added, conducting a topographic survey, which includes locations of such things as sidewalks, curbs, trees, and utilities (if the utilities are marked). “When we get all that information the consultants will have a better idea of what trees, if any, might be taken out; sometimes it would be because the road gets widened or a new slope of the road might affect it.”

An existing median at 37th and Silver Lake Road will likely be replaced, but there are no plans for other medians on Silver Lake Road, and there are not plans for different types of traffic signals. “When the county puts in signals we do a ‘signal warrant analysis,’ which is information we collect; it’s the same for every signal, collected data is applied to the standards. The intersection at 29th, where there is a stop sign, did not meet the warrant for a signal (stoplight), and the only other signal is at 33rd Avenue.”

Costs for the total project haven’t been estimated yet, Lemke said, although the city will be providing a portion of the money. “At this point we don’t know how much bituminous (blacktop) we’ll need, we don’t know about the drainage and the curbs. Sometimes there’s underground work, drainage structure pipes, that can add costs to a project.

“Next summer when we’re in the design stage we’ll be meeting with stakeholders such as the utility companies and residents along the corridor to discuss the best way to do things,” Lemke said.

St. Anthony City Manager Michael Mornson said that while the street is under construction, the city plans to replace all the utilities. “We want everything to be brand new because everything under there now is 50 years old,” he said. “That’s typically what we do with all our street projects; we replace and upgrade what’s needed, including sewer and water lines, storm water pipes, fiber optics, anything that makes sense.“

According to St. Anthony city information, the task force identified five values concerning Silver Lake Road. They include sidewalks for both sides of the street, lighting along the corridor and retention of the village’s residential identity and character. People also preferred a two lane street with turn lanes, and want the reconstruction of the street to reduce congestion.

Silver Lake Road gets an average of 9,500 vehicles a day; by 2025, city officials estimate that the number will increase to 11,592. The road was built and graded to 39 feet in 1956 and 1960; it is 44 feet wide curb to curb. Speed is 30 miles an hour, it was last resurfaced in 1997, and during the week—according to Metro Transit information—buses travel on it 35 times per day in each direction. On Saturday, buses travel the road eight times; they don’t use it on Sundays.

For information about the 2007 Silver Lake Road reconstruction project, call the City of St. Anthony, 612-789-8881 or check the city Web site, www.ci.saint_anthony.mn.us.