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Cottage Grove's 2018 construction prepares for new housing

The Jamaica Avenue to Keats Avenue stretch of Ravine Parkway will be constructed in 2018. Courtesy of the city of Cottage Grove 1 / 2
One of the busiest areas in Cottage Grove — Jamaica Avenue and East Point Douglas Road — may be improved in 2020. Courtesy of the city of Cottage Grove 2 / 2

The city is looking into its major construction projects for 2018 through 2022, while also making room for the possible HERO Center construction.

The city's capital improvement plan (CIP) includes a few big projects for 2018, but pushes a lot of bigger projects into the next five years.

The city will likely forego pavement management next year, holding the plans for East Meadow Cliff and Prestige Estates neighborhoods to 2019 or later.

"It saves everybody money in the long run," City Engineer Jennifer Levitt said, because they can likely bid it with other projects next year at a lower cost.

A significant portion of Ravine Parkway — as designed in the Ravine Master Plan the city created several years ago — will be built next year in anticipation of new developments being built on the north end of the city. Ravine Parkway will be built from Jamaica Avenue to Keats Avenue in 2018 for an estimated cost of $7.2 million.

Levitt said the biggest construction project for the year will be this roadway, as it will "facilitate housing growth."

Another stretch of Ravine Parkway from Hinton Avenue to Innsdale Avenue will be constructed in 2019 for about $2 million. Also planned for 2019 is the Hinton Avenue and 70th Street roundabout.

Depending on the construction of another housing development, a less than half-mile area of Hadley Avenue from 65th Street to the Woodbury border will be redone for just over $2 million. The developer will share costs for that project.

Washington County will lead construction on left-turn lanes for Indian Boulevard and Keats Avenue due to some accidents in the last year, Burfeind said.

The city will also complete some repairs for $100,000 on the Grey Cloud Island bridge, and Well 12 will be completed, for a total cost of $2.1 million.

The remaining stretch of 80th Street improvements — from Jamaica to Keats — won't be done until 2020.

The CIP also includes $350,000 worth of improvements to the entrance and parking lot of Oakwood Park. Parks and Recreation Director Zac Dockter said the improvements will only be done if the former Ruby Tuesday building and adjacent city-owned lot are sold and planned for development.

The city is able to bond for about $10 million at certain low interest rates each year, for capital projects such as these.

If by next May the legislature and governor decide to partially fund the HERO Center, the city can start building in 2018.

Both Cottage Grove and Woodbury have a cost share of about $4 million that they would likely bond separately for, taking up almost half of the city's bonding room.

Ravine Parkway project is likely the only project that would need bonding in 2018, Finance Director Robin Roland said, and additional bonding space is opened up from pushing off pavement management.

The HERO Center bonding could also be saved until 2019, allowing for more wiggle room next year.

Solution to a problem intersection?

After another crash at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and East Point Douglas Road in October, residents have voiced concerns about the safety of that area.

The city has pencilled in a possible solution to its 2020 Capital Improvement Plan that were initially developed as concepts in 2015.

“The main driving issue is the intersection is signalized at Jamaica and East Point, and another one right here at the entrance to Target and Cub, and those signals are just too close together,” Assistant City Engineer Ryan Burfeind said.

With about 20,000 vehicles per day taking Jamaica Avenue and 13,000 on East Point Douglas, he said the “spacing is just not manageable for this traffic count.”

The city’s possible solution is to add dual left turn lanes from southbound Jamaica to East Point Douglas Road in addition to two straight lanes and one right turn lane. There will also be two designated left turn lanes from East Point Douglas onto southbound Jamaica, in addition to a straight lane and one right turn lane. The concept includes 25 lanes turn and straight lanes at the intersection; there are currently 21.

The concept also adds a four-leg roundabout on East Point Douglas road with the parking lots for Cub and the strip mall next to Target.

With the curve in the road there, Burfeind said, drivers would not be able to see a signal, making a roundabout the safer solution.

The total project cost would be about $8 million.