by Dennis Dalman
Long-anticipated improvements will start next spring on a major portion of Pinecone Road in Sartell, with more work to follow in 2015 and 2016.
At the Jan. 12 Sartell City Council meeting, Sartell City Engineer Mike Nielson outlined the general time frame for the improvements.
Next spring and summer, reconstruction-resurfacing will be done from 2nd Street S. to 15th Street N. Nielson said that portion should be done in 2015 because the Minnesota Department of Transportation plans to do a couple of major projects on Hwy. 15 and CR 1 in 2016. Doing those projects at the same time, in 2016, would cause serious traffic gluts on some roads, according to MnDOT, Nielson told the council. The MnDOT project will include adding left-turn lanes and resurfacing some of Hwy. 15.
The Pinecone Road project will involve construction of roundabouts at 2nd Street S. and 7th Street N. Nielson said he has met with businesses at those locations, and they are concerned about possible disruptions to their businesses, but the project engineers will figure out ways for customers to access the businesses.
Another area that will be reconstructed is 27th Street N. from Pinecone Road east to Riverside Avenue. That road, because of so much traffic to and from Oak Ridge Elementary School, must be fixed as soon as possible because of safety concerns, Nielson said. There will be detours associated with that project, he added.
In 2016, it’s possible to redo Pinecone Road from 15th Street to 27th Street N., Nielson noted.
Pinecone will be a 42-foot-wide road with curb-and-gutter and no parking. There will be a striped-off bicycle path on both sides. A sewage lift station will be added at 27th Avenue N. Nielson said the areas for the bicycle trails will be graded during the road work even if the city decides to add the trails after the project is completed.
Roundabouts may also be added along Pinecone Road at 27th Avenue N. and Scout Drive.
Nielson said the city could put signal lights instead of the current stop signs where Heritage Drive meets Pinecone Road and CR 133, which is another problematic, busy intersection in Sartell during certain rush-hour times. In the meantime, the city could decide if it wants lights or a roundabout at that intersection, he added.
Much if not all of the Pinecone-related road projects could be done with revenue from the half-cent sales tax, the council has noted. At its next meeting, the council will consider whether or not to improve the engineer’s plans and cost estimates.