Merchants along Hwy. 36 prepared to weather disruption

  • Article by: TODD NELSON , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2012 - 6:28 PM

St. Croix bridge project could pose problems for businesses along the road.

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Willy53Oct. 16, 12 5:25 AM

Businesses along HW 36 need to get used to a different reality. Gone is the old HW 36. Say hello to a growing new reality that places the urban and suburban metro area right at thier doorstep. Intersections on 36 will grow in size, have longer stop lights and eat up land around their stores while turning the 36 strip into a 65MPH thruway. Building the new megabridge which requires "upgrades" on 36, especially to the approach, simply turns the HW36 business district into more of an urban sprawl and major freeway corridor. In no way wil the "improvements" bring a better quality of life along this roadway. Infact, those access roads and intersections will be a magnet for traffic congestion and concentrate unusual traffic levels to roads in Stillwater that weren't meant for such heavy traffic. Yes, the Stillwater bridge will impact Stillwater in ways many of the innocent supporters never imagined. The simple increase in road noise created by the bridge and faster approach speeds on 36 along with dramatic increases in traffic will be intrusive. Only can MNDOT see these developments as progress. In fact, if MNDOT had their way, half of the businesses along 36 would be wiped out by access ramps but they just couldn't get the Mayor to sign off on that or the business owners to commit business suicide. But perhaps the biggest problem for those HW 36 shops is that they'll be watching former customers whiz by at freeway speeds using their slick bridge to Wisconsin to bypass Stillwater and shop the new sprawl closer to home across the river. Like it or not, Minnesota taxpayers have just paid to build super access from Wisconsin that benefits them in few ways, especially in the pocket book. The new growth won't be in Stillwater, but across the river where it will explode. The bridge simply provides a way to bypass Stillwater and get there for Wisconsin residents.

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