Major micro project starts in September

A resident looks on as MnDOT Project Engineer Eric Rustad points to a map showing the stretch of Minnesota 5 that will be micro-surfaced during a MnDOT open house Wednesday in the Lake Elmo Elementary School media center. Work on MN 5 from Century Avenue in Oakdale to Minnesota 36 in Oak Park Heights begins Sept. 3. (Gazette staff photo by Erik Sandin)

Lake Elmo officials hope Minnesota 5 resurfacing ‘quiets’ old village traffic

LAKE ELMO — Lake Elmo officials hope a fall pavement resurfacing project on Minnesota 5 leads to a safer, “quieter” stretch of main road through the city.
Minnesota Department of Transportation officials hosted a two-hour open house Wednesday afternoon at Lake Elmo Elementary School to explain the project and address residents’ questions and concerns.
MnDOT plans to micro-surface MN 5 by installing a half-inch layer of asphalt on eight miles of the highway from Century Avenue in Oakdale east to Minnesota 36 in Oak Park Heights, according to MnDOT official Adam Josephson.
“That will smooth out the pavement, make it quieter and last longer,” he said about micro-surfacing.
The $2.3 million project starts Sept. 3 and is expected to be finished in early November, Josephson said. Although MnDOT plans to schedule resurfacing work during off-peak traffic periods, motorists can expect some delays, especially in areas such as Lake Elmo and at the MN 5-58th Street intersection at Stillwater Area High School in Oak Park Heights.
Josephson said MnDOT plans road enhancements on MN 5 in Lake Elmo in the old Village section of the city to improve safety in the area, especially at Lake Elmo Elementary.
“When we put the new (road) stripes in, there will be a center left turn lane,” he said, adding that the driving lanes will be reduced from 12 feet wide to 11 feet wide and the speed limit will remain 40 mph.
The MN 5 center left-turn lane will be between Lake Elmo and Layton avenues, according to a MnDOT project fact sheet.
The other project change is moving a current pedestrian crossing at Gorman’s Restaurant,  aligning the crossing at the elementary school and adding a center pedestrian island, Josephson said.
“We’ve had a lot of concerns voiced to us from parents and the school district that this is not a very good crossing,” he said. He added that moving the crosswalk and building the center island will create a safer crossing at Lake Elmo Elementary.
“This will make it more orderly for pedestrians to cross,” he said.
Josephson said Lake Elmo city officials are considering installing a pedestrian activated yellow warning light system at the crossing as an added safety measure. He added that system would be paid for by the city under a MnDOT permit.
City Administrator Dean Zuleger said city officials are talking with Independent School District 834 officials and the Lake Elmo Elementary PTO about joint funding of the pedestrian-activated signal.
Josephson said project-wide safety features include rebuilt shoulders in some areas and installing rumble strips in the center and shoulder of the highway.
Josephson said the resurfacing will be done under “traffic conditions” with lane closures planned on four-lane sections of MN 5 and flaggers and pilot cars directing motorists during work in two-lane sections of the highway.
“The road will always be open for traffic,” he said.
Zuleger said the upcoming MN 5 project is another example of the city working with other government agencies to solve a problem affecting the city.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the cooperation of MnDOT and Washington County to provide a solution to calm traffic down in the old city,” he said.

Contact Erik Sandin at [email protected]