St. Michael Commuters Could See I-494 Traffic Relief in the Future
With a lack of state funding, MnDOT says they are trying to come up with creative solutions to fix problem areas like Interstate 494 through Maple Grove.
St. Michael commuters using Interstate 494 during rush hour know the interstate jams up between Plymouth and Maple Grove.
The five-mile stretch of road between Highway 55 in Plymouth and East Fish Lake Road in Maple Grove only has two lanes and causes traffic to back up quickly. Now MnDOT says there is a plan in place to deal with the problem.
MnDOT plans to build “dynamic shoulder lane,” which would essentially create a third lane along Interstate 494 that would be open during peak traffic times. MnDOT calls the solution a short-term fix, but Maple Grove Mayor Mark Steffenson is concerned the additional lane won’t be temporary.
“I think it should be a short-term fix but my fear is that it becomes a long term fix,” Steffenson told 12 News. “It all comes down to funding though.”
MnDOT says the lane would be used for at least 15 years; a timeline city officials aren’t thrilled about.
“We were really hoping for an additional general purpose lane on 494, but MnDOT says the funding for such a lane won’t be available for at least a decade, so at least this option is something,” Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik said.
The project could become part of a two-year plan for maintenance along Interstate 494. The project includes re-paving the road, re-decking and widening three bridges, as well as adding noise walls at certain locations.
The project is still in its infant stages. The Met Council and MnDOT still need to approve the project. If approved, community meetings would be scheduled for the end of the year and construction could start in 2014.