Along Hwy.36, new bridge is good and bad

  • Article by: KEVIN GILES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 21, 2012 - 10:04 PM

Cities on the artery brace for extra expense and more traffic.

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Willy53Apr. 22, 12 7:17 AM

This is a perfect example that demonstrates the truth of the axiom that "you can't build your way out of congestion". Despite the fact MNDOT knows this they proceeded with a massive freeway sprawl attracting bridge that will flood 36 with traffic it can't handle and costs that cities or MNDOT cannot afford. These upgrades required when traffic counts inevitably reach 30,000-50,000 cars a day over the bridge (up from the current 16,000 which has been stable for over a decade) have the potential to obliterate the HW 36 business district. Mayor Johnston of Lake Elmo needs to be held accountable for his support of the bridge and his mistaken notion that a 700 million dollar infrastructure was needed to "turn around property values" in Lake Elmo. When the costs for improvements to handle the extra traffic come due Johnston needs to step front and center with revenue solutions from his constituents. The mayor of Maplewood is spot on with his take, that a smaller bridge, more in scale with the current bridge, would perpetuate a natural barrier to increased traffic and hold down the need for rebuilding the HW 36 corridor into an interstate type roadway (something MNDOT's 50 yr. plan wanted to avoid). He regrets the traffic increases that will plague his city. Durring the bridge debate Congresswoman McCollum was one of just a few people that warned of the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be needed from taxpayers to upgrade HW 36 intersections and accesses from adjacent cities that none can afford and MNDOT cannot assume. This is why the megabridge is easily a billion dollar plus infrastructure project. It is doubtful that more peole will be living in Minnesota because of this bridge. Mayor Johnston's projection of skyrocketing land values in Lake Elmo are not necessarily a given nor is increased business activity. There will be an explosion of building in Wisconsin and high commuter traffic through these municipalities that will stimulate road building and the destruction of much of the small town feel of communities like Lake Elmo. This is what the Klobuchar/Bachmann exemption will bring to Minnesota. Ask them from where all this money will be generated.

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thesupermanApr. 22, 12 8:39 AM

Willy53, Yes you can build your way out of congestion. They have done nothing with 694 and 494 loop. It is still a 2 lane interstate. Wake up. And then you have all the texters and talkers and I need a Tom Tom to find my way around slowing everything down. Technology is slowing us down.

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liberaleliteApr. 22, 12 9:39 AM

Superman, actually we've spent nearly $2 billion over the past 15 years to make 494 6+ lane between Woodbury and Maple Grove. And it's still congested.

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liberaleliteApr. 22, 12 9:43 AM

I've been saying this for years, but projects such as this bridge, or 212 or 610, are disgusting subsidies of exurban drivers. And these projects cause direct harm to other drivers by inducing more drivers into driving more freeway lane miles inside the beltway. For someone who lives far out, these projects subsidize a large portion of their commute. Maybe 50% of the total lane-miles of their drive. But in doing so, it draws more lane-miles driven onto unimproved and congested freeways inside the beltway, where many more people have the entirety of their commute. These projects actually make things worse for most commuters.

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gofigerApr. 22, 1212:38 PM

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., wants a comprehensive plan from MnDOT that takes Hwy. 36 cities' varying needs into consideration. - Betty McCollum has never wanted the bridge and I am sure will do all she can to add extra costs and delays to any proposed solution. Much like the Sierra Club.

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liberaleliteApr. 22, 12 4:07 PM

gofiger, pretty ironic that Betty McCollum is being fiscally responsible here, and Michelle Bachmann forced through the bridge to nowhere that we can't afford.

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beenhereApr. 22, 12 8:59 PM

More welfare for road contractors, auto dealers, short-sighted long-distance commuters, oil companies, and in a decade it will all by wasted when gas hits $10 or more and the whole stinking mess grinds to a halt. If anything proves that humans are not intelligently designed, it's our inability to grasp big problems and deal with them rationally. This bridge is just a boondoggle.

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wishouldpayApr. 23, 12 7:19 AM

So this bridge has been in limbo for 30 years...why wasn't MNDOT working to upgrade these areas while waiting for the bridge to get approved? And for that matter...MNDOT knew decades ago that this bridge violated the WSRA, why didn't they start lobbying then to get an exemption from congress? This agency has failed over and over on this issue, and now they are going to build an excessively expensive bridge, which will put more of a burden on the already crowded Hwy 36, and it's intersections east of the twin cities...good job MNDOT, you scored another one for the "let's not think it through" club!

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