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City, county agree roundabout, road project near Highway 61

Washington County and the city of Cottage Grove will partner on two road improvement projects.

The County Board on Aug. 2 approved an agreement with Cottage Grove to design and construct a new six-leg roundabout that would encompass the interchange of Keats Avenue, East Point Douglas Road and access ramps to and from Highway 61.

The county is the lead agency for the project, which will begin next year and cost $2.5 million.

The commissioners also approved the city’s request to extend road improvements to include a 1,100-foot stretch of East Point Douglas Road that runs from Keats Avenue to Walmart.

The East Point Douglas Road project will piggyback on the highway roundabout construction. Plans call for repaving that section of road as well as adding water and sewer lines.

“This is a great example of collaboration and of efficient use of taxpayer dollars,” Commissioner Karla Bigham said.

Cottage Grove will bear the costs of the East Point Douglas Road portion of the project, which is expected to add $1 million to the overall price tag. That includes engineering, design and other costs related to acquiring of right-of-way or temporary easements from landowners. 

Cottage Grove City Engineer Jennifer Levitt said the city saw an opportunity to prepare East Point Douglas Road and its surrounding land for future development. The Cottage Grove City Council voted to approve the partnership at its July 20 meeting.

“That roundabout has a lot of significance,” she said. “It provides additional access to the land that's immediately adjacent, that’s kind of primed and ready for retail. It has not just a transportational impact but has a very positive economic impact.”

The terms of the agreement require the city to complete 95 percent of the design by October and finalize all right-of-way and temporary easements by March 3, 2017.

Levitt said the highway roundabout project would go forward regardless of whether they could make those deadlines. The two projects were kept separate for that reason, she said.

“The intent and ideal situation is that they would both be constructed at the exact same time,” Levitt said. “But if the city can’t get all the design elements and right-of-way in time, we’re committing that we won’t delay the roundabout.”

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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