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Several road projects identified around new high school

After one year of student drivers taking a new route to school, the city of Farmington now has a better idea of what kinds of new traffic patterns have to be dealt with in future years.

On Monday, Farmington city engineer Kevin Schorzman reviewed the projects he intends to ask Dakota County to place on its annual capital improvement program. Most of those requests will affect traffic within a few miles of the new high school.

Made up of requests from all communities within the county, the CIP is updated annually. It's a document that helps county officials determine financial participation in projects that affect city and county roads.

The new bridge over the railroad track -- the extension of 195th Street -- was one such project. The county paid 55 percent of the project costs because it was also an extension of Co. Rd. 64. The remainder of the cost was split between the city of Farmington and the company that will eventually develop the land to the north of the extension. That project is on the 2011 list, Schorzman said, but more as a formality, simply because the county is funding its portion of the project over a longer period.

Last year, the city of Farmington worked closely with county and school officials to identify areas where congestion may occur once the new high school on Flagstaff Avenue opened. Now, they've had a year to monitor that traffic, and the recommendations that came out of last year's study are on Schorzman's list for county participation.

Sometime between 2011 and 2015, Schorzman has asked for the county to help in funding more intersection traffic control at Flagstaff Avenue and County Road 50. It's not an immediate need, he said, but it is an area where something more than a two-way stop sign will eventually be necessary.

What that additional traffic control may be has not been determined, but that's what Schorzman is asking for -- preliminary discussion and planning for that intersection sometime in the next four years.

"When the study was done, there wasn't an immediate need," he said. "We have to have a plan in place for when the triggers are there. We should know what the appropriate traffic control would be. We're asking them to continue putting this in their program so we can do that."

The increased traffic on 195th Street, particularly from the bridge to Flagstaff Avenue, has made getting in and out of some of the residential developments a little more challenging during peak times, like before school. As such, Schorzman is asking the county for help to widen portions of 195th Street so that turn lanes can be installed along the route. He would like the preliminary design to occur yet this year, followed by final design next year.

The Farmington Area Transportation Study indicated traffic at the 195th Street and Pilot Knob intersection would warrant more than a four-way stop sign as traffic became heavier. Schorzman is asking the county to take a look at that intersection and determine if another type of traffic control would better suit the area. He would like to see the design phase begin in 2011, and construction in 2013. He is also recommending that the city and county explore federal grant funding options and possibly tie the intersection project in with the 195th Street road expansion.

"The county has been a very good partner with the city over the years," he said. "We do appreciate the cooperation we get from them."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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