Hilton Trail to get makeover

Overpass, roundabouts replace signals at MN 36 intersection next year

You could call it the forgotten bridge project.

Motorists traveling Minnesota Highway 36 next year not only will contend with work on the Minnesota approach to the new St. Croix River bridge, they also face construction of a new overpass at Hilton Trail and Minnesota 36.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners learned more about the Hilton Trail project from a state Department of Transportation official during a workshop Tuesday.

The $12.6 million project eliminates the traffic signal at Hilton Trail and MN 36, replacing it with an interchange that features roundabouts on Hilton Trail at ramp intersections and connecting the north frontage road over the Gateway Trail and Viking Drive access to Hilton.

“It will be a diamond interchange and at each intersection, there will be roundabouts,” said Curt Fakler from MnDOT.

Fakler added that MnDOT also plans Long Lake erosion control work that installs rip-rap rock along the lake’s south shoreline protecting the north side of westbound MN 36.

MnDOT also will change the DeMontreville Trail intersection at MN 36 to three-quarter access with a U-turn east of DeMontreville Trail, Fakler said,

The major construction impact on traffic is closing northbound Hilton Trail most of the construction season and closing southbound Hilton two to three months before partial access is restored, Fakler said.

Other short-term construction-related closings include of some ramps to Interstate 694, Highlands Trail and a short median closure on DeMontreville Trail, according to Fakler.

The good news for motorists, Fakler said, is that MN 36 will have two lanes in each direction.

“We’re going to leave 36 alone. We’re going to dig a big hole and fill it with a bridge over 36.”

Fakler said more than half of the project’s $12.6 million total cost, about $7.840 million, is covered by STP funding. The balance of more than $4.7 million is split between the state and county, with the state paying slightly more than $4 million and the county paying slightly more than $714,000.

“We do have $750,000 allocated for this project,” said County Engineer Wayne Sandburg.

Fakler and Sandburg said the Hilton Trail interchange will improve traffic flow on MN 36 from I-694.

“This current design will handle traffic amounts,” Sandburg said.

“Once we shut down the signal at Hilton, (traffic on) 36 will flow much freer,” Fakler added.

Area residents can learn more about the project at two MnDOT open houses next month. The first is 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at Lake Elmo City Hall. The second is 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at Mahtomedi City Hall.