Dakota County plans road construction, roundabout for FarmingtonWhen the Farmington City Council gave its approval to a Dakota County 2013-17 capital improvement plan request Monday, council members affirmed the reconstruction of 195th Street from Flagstaff Avenue on the west, to Diamond Path on the east. As part of that project, council members agreed to the county’s plan to bring a roundabout to the intersection of Pilot Knob Road and 195th Street.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Like it or not, another roundabout is going to be built in Farmington in less than two years.
When the Farmington City Council gave its approval to a Dakota County 2013-17 capital improvement plan request Monday, council members affirmed the reconstruction of 195th Street from Flagstaff Avenue on the west, to Diamond Path on the east. As part of that project, council members agreed to the county’s plan to bring a roundabout to the intersection of Pilot Knob Road and 195th Street.
Both 195th Street and Pilot Knob Road are technically county roads – County Road 64 and County Road 31, respectively – so the city of Farmington has very little control on what type of traffic control device is used at the intersection. However, the roundabout should come as little surprise to city officials, because it was identified as the preferred traffic control mechanism for that location during when the Farmington Area Transportation Study was completed in 2009.
The transportation study was completed in conjunction with the opening of Farmington High School on Flagstaff Avenue, after concerns surfaced regarding the new traffic patterns around the high school. It was run by Dakota County, but Farmington city and school officials were part of the discussions. The increased traffic from the high school made the Pilot Knob Road/195th Street intersection the first area in need of attention.
According to Farmington city engineer Kevin Schorzman, Dakota County has already started the design phase of the project. More design and right-of-way acquisition is planned for 2013, with the actual construction scheduled to start in 2014.
The project will widen 195th Street to include center turn lanes for left-hand turns and incorporate new pedestrian trails on either side of the road. A pedestrian underpass is planned near Meadowview Elementary School so students on foot or on bicycles can cross under the road safely.
“It will be a tremendous improvement to the movability along that corridor,” Schorzman said.
The city council talked about some of the design features back in 2009, Schorzman added. The project has been on the county’s CIP for the past three years. This year, though, the project starts to move ahead.
The city will split the cost of the project with Dakota County, using a cost-sharing policy where Farmington will pay 45 percent of the cost, the county will pay 55 percent. The city and county tried to get federal funding, Schorzman added, but the project did not qualify. The project is now expected to cost the city $3.55 to $3.75 million, with Dakota County picking up the rest. Dakota County has offered to front the money for the design and right-of-way costs, so the city will only have to bond once in 2014. That bond amount will cover construction, as well as the design and right-of-way.
Schorzman will ask county officials to bring the project plans to Farmington once the plan is a little more developed. But he said it is certain the roundabout will be included.
Council member Christy Jo Fogarty endorsed the plan.
“Ultimately, they’re roads that are in our city, but they’re not our city roads,” Fogarty said. “I can speak to the research I’ve done on roundabouts, and they do greatly increase safety.”