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Three schools will be affected by one street project in 2015

There are times when a city or Dakota County project affects Farmington's schools. And one of those projects is coming up in about two years.

At Monday's joint Farmington City Council and Farmington School Board, city engineer Kevin Schorzman gave an update on preliminary plans for the widening and reconstruction of 195th Street/County Road 64.

The project has the potential to impact three schools - Akin Road Elementary and Meadowview Elementary School both abut the road, and traffic from Farmington High School filters onto 195th Street from Flagstaff Avenue. The project will extend from Flagstaff Avenue to the west, to Akin Road to the east.

Since 195th Street is also a county road, Dakota County is taking the lead in planning the reconstruction. Preliminary plans are to widen 195th Street/Co. Rd. 64 to include a third lane designated for turn lanes. Trails are planned on both sides of the road, at least from Akin Road to Meadowview Elementary School, and there is the possibility of an underpass so students on the north side of the street do not have to cross traffic to get to the school building.

"If we can get those things designed in and built into the project, I think it will have a tremendous impact on pedestrian safety and hopefully increase the usership of folks walking to school," Schorzman said.

School board member Melissa Sauser asked if the stretch of 195th Street near Meadowview Elementary will receive school zone designation after the project is complete. Meadowview is the only school in the district that does not have school zone signage and controls in front of it, she said.

The city does not have control over the designation, Schorzman said, because the road belongs to Dakota County. However, Schorzman said the city has made a request that the county consider posting the area as a school zone.

"I think it will play out as part of the design process," he said.

The intersection of Pilot Knob Road and 195th Street will be reconstructed as part of the project, as well. Though there has been past talk of a roundabout at that intersection, Schorzman said he has not received confirmation that a roundabout will be the preferred method of traffic control.

"I don't know the specifics of the public process. It is something that David (McKnight) and I have expressed very strongly to the county that that needs to happen," Schorzman said. "I know there will be a fairly robust public input process throughout because I know there are concerns not only with the entrance to Meadowview, but with a lot of the side roads in there."

The 195th Street project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015. Schorzman said he expects Dakota County to bring plans to Farmington sometime in the spring or early summer of 2014, so county planners can get input from residents.

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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