Big Changes in the Horizon for a Local Traffic Hotspot

Andrea Moisei, N/A

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The possibility of new features for the intersection between Highway 3 and 142nd Street slowly solidifies this year, as changes aimed to aid the safety and flow of the intersection catch traction in the community.

“We’re excited about the possibility of making that intersection safer” Rosemount High School Principal, Pete Roback, noted during our interview. With the addition of the new parking lot, the school has received new insight on the area around it. “What that parking lot has given us is increased safety perspective” he explained. Not only is the school growing, with the capacity at the same volume as it was before Eastview opened, but the city itself is also growing with the creation of new homes. It makes sense for the next step in line to be looking at how and where in the community changes can be made after seeing the possible long term effects of this growth.

It was noted that this topic has been thrown back and forth for many years, by many different people, not quite catching the attention of the community. However, something changed in that situation this year, with officials such as John Huot (DFL-57B) working to push the legislature to help aid the process and more people in the community voicing concern. When asked why he thought the topic was so hard to jumpstart in the community, Principal Roback clarified he could only speculate, however, he did have a few ideas of his own. “One reason in the past, it [traffic] just hasn’t risen to a level where volumes have been high enough. And then I’m thinking number two, is that there’s a bit of confusion about who owns that intersection.”

While Highway 3 and 142nd Street is a city intersection, Highway 3 is a state-owned Highway. However, on top of this split, there is also speculation between if its district-owned property or not. This confusion around who actually owns the property leads to a whole different discussion who’s paying for these changes? While most are eager at the idea of improving safety and traffic flow, the moment funding comes into play some of that eagerness seems to diminish.

As of April 25th, through a meeting with MnDOT, it was made known to school administrators that the outcome of a traffic study done recently showed that the intersection met only 8 of the 9 needed criteria for a “controlled intersection”, an intersection with either stoplights, a full-sized roundabout, or a four-way stop. “The administrators and myself felt a bit dejected,” noted Jack Sewpersaud, a student and activist at Rosemount High School present at the meeting. Regardless, even with this small set back, MnDOT agreed to help draft up the plans for a “compact roundabout”, as smaller than normal sized roundabout without the vegetation in the center, which should be done within the next month and presented at the next meeting on the topic.