By Todd Moen, Editor
If citizens missed the road signs, the city’s open house, and the city’s special newsletter dedicated to the project, here’s another reminder that the intersection at trunk highways 5 and 284 in Waconia is about to receive a serious upgrade.
The project includes the reconstruction of the intersection and features new turn lanes, curb and gutter, storm sewer, and a new signal system. The cost of the approximately $1.8 million project will be shared by the city, Carver County, and MnDOT, which are partners for the project. The city’s share is $835,230.84, which will be funded through PIR, Municipal State Aid, Storm Water, and Water Utility funds.
Construction begins on Monday, June 18 and is expected to take approximately seven weeks to complete. Officials are looking for all lanes to be open as of 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10 so work is finished in time for the Carver County Fair and other late summer/early fall activities occurring in the city.
The intersection will remain open to traffic during the project, although motorists are advised that the intersection will not be signalized for extended periods during the project. Traffic on Highway 5 will not need to stop during the project, but traffic on Highway 284 will stop at a stop sign until the signal is operational in August. Officials encourage drivers that regularly cross TH 5 via TH 284 should use alternate routes during the project (such as Main Street or CSAH 10).
According to MnDOT, a signed detour will direct traffic along County Road 10. Motorists are also advised to use TH 5 to Main Street to access downtown Waconia, or to find their own alternate routes during the closure. All residences and local businesses – including those near the intersection – will remain accessible during the project. Pedestrian access across TH 5 at the intersection will not be allowed until the new signal system is operational (expected in August).
One of the unique elements of the project is that it includes a "flashing yellow" signal system, which has been shown to help drivers make fewer mistakes. The flashing yellow signal keeps motorists safer during heavier traffic and reduces delays when traffic is light. When facing a flashing yellow arrow, motorists are allowed to turn left after yielding to all oncoming traffic, which has a green light, and any pedestrians in the crosswalk.
To learn more about the project, visit the city’s website at www.waconia.org and click on the link. Or, one can access project information at www.bolton-menk.com/clients/Waconia/TH284TH5/index.html.