Monticello council members have unanimously approved a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) traffic detour agreement for Chelsea Road, which will be the designated city street detour route during the I-94 reconstruction project.
Motorists will use Chelsea Road to access the County Highway 18 interchange when the interchange at Highway 25 is closed. Shibani Bisson, senior project manager with WSB & Associates, Inc., the city’s consulting engineering firm, said the state can detour traffic onto a public street or another highway and maintain it as such for the duration of the detour but must restore the roadway to as good a condition as prior to the detour.
MnDOT will compensate the city an estimated at $7,039 for the I-94 reconstruction project. That amount is based on gas tax revenue made by actual traffic volume increases when the detour is in effect. Traffic counts on Chelsea Road will be taken prior to construction and during construction to determine the increase in traffic volumes.
Last week, Bisson stated in a council memo that the estimated traffic volume increase on Chelsea Road will be 9,535 vehicles per day. The current daily average traffic volume on Chelsea Road is 3,800 vehicles per day. The increase in traffic projected on County Road 75 is estimated at 9,000 vehicles per day, Bisson stated.
“This is a significant increase in traffic and the current two lanes can accommodate the increase traffic,” Bisson wrote.
She said concerns with side streets accessing Chelsea Road and additional signage or traffic control needs will be monitored by MnDOT and accommodations made if needed.
There is a segment of Chelsea Road from Edmonson Avenue to Thomas Park Drive that is in poor condition, Bisson reported. City staff has concerns that this segment may require reconstruction sooner than later based on the increased volume of traffic proposed with the project.
Wright County has already approved a similar detour agreement with MnDOT for the project. “It’s important to point out noted increases in traffic are just an estimate,” Bisson wrote. “Drivers will likely find other routes to navigate around the closures and volumes could be lower on detour routes.”
MnDOT has indicated they will provide a passable lane from either interchange if emergency access is needed or emergency vehicles could turn around outside of the project limits in I-94 grass median, she said.
“There will be an obvious impact to local businesses with the construction and traffic detours that can be viewed as both positive and negative,” Bisson concluded, adding that MnDOT will have a designated staff person who will work directly with affected Monticello businesses.
Contact Tim Hennagir at [email protected]