No decision yet on North Frontage Road reroute

This map shows the latest proposed design for the North Frontage Road where it intersects with Osgood Avenue in Oak Park Heights. The large building is Fury Motors' current building. The yellow shows the proposed frontage road alignment. The green section is an existing piece of Oren Avenue. Highway 36 runs along the bottom. Click to enlarge.

This map shows the latest proposed design for the North Frontage Road where it intersects with Osgood Avenue in Oak Park Heights. The large building is Fury Motors’ current building. The yellow shows the proposed frontage road alignment. The green section is an existing piece of Oren Avenue. Highway 36 runs along the bottom. Click to enlarge.

A decision on whether to reroute the North Frontage Road around Fury Motors at Osgood Avenue is expected at the Oak Park Heights City Council’s next meeting July 22.

MnDOT had said it needed a decision July 8, but the city, county and state are still ironing out the language of an agreement for the council to vote on. Officials from all three entities met to discuss the project July 8.

“The offer on the table is that MnDOT and the county build this frontage road, and (the city takes) ownership of it,” Washington County Engineer Wayne Sandberg said.

The city would also make available the Westbury property, a single family home it purchased at a cost of about $330,000. The home would be demolished to make way for the new frontage road.

The Oak Park Height City Council is concerned about the future costs of owning and maintaining the road long term.

If no agreement is reached, the frontage road will be rebuilt as it is. If that happens, Washington County says it will likely need to put a median down Osgood in the future due to safety concerns.

In addition to cost concerns, council members Mark Swenson and Mike Runk felt the state and county had portrayed it as the city’s fault if the project didn’t happen.

Jon Chiglo of MnDOT said he didn’t want to portray it that way but that he thinks this is the best opportunity to reroute the frontage road, because it would likely be many years before MnDOT could get funding for the project again.

Councilmember Mike Runk said the county and state should’ve been more involved in the project earlier if safety was an issue.

“Why didn’t the county take the lead on it a year ago?” he asked. The council didn’t feel comfortable voting on the proposal until it saw the final language changes discussed July 8.

Chiglo said MnDOT could wait for a decision if the council took an up or down vote at the next meeting.

Contact Jonathan Young at jonathan.young@ecm-inc.com

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