If it feels like there was more road construction in Eden Prairie this summer, you're not wrong, according to City Engineer Rod Rue.
There's typically just one large street project every year, and work on Eden Prairie Road had been scheduled for several years ago — but due to a delay in Hennepin County's Flying Cloud Drive reconstruction, it was pushed to this summer and coincided with major work on Preserve Boulevard, Rue explained.
The city has also reached a certain time of life when its age begins to show, at least in terms of roads, Rue added. There was a boom in road building in the 1970s-80s, when the city built around 10 miles of roads every year, and those streets are coming to the end of their lifespans. A road can reasonably be expected to last around 40-50 years, he said.
"The city really boomed in that time," Rue said, and it's "getting old enough that the pavement has run its useful life."
Even with preventative maintenance like adding seal coats and doing overlays, Minnesota's freeze and thaw cycles strain streets annually, and soil compositions and heavy traffic can contribute to a road wearing out faster, too. The city's engineers evaluate its roads on a three-year cycle to determine which ones need maintenance, and a report will be coming out later this fall or in early winter, Rue said.
With the Minnesota season of road building coming to a close, here are a few projects around the city that have wrapped up or are moving into different phases:
Flying Cloud Drive
The current work on Flying Cloud Drive, between Spring Road and Highway 101, is the second phase of the project and includes building retaining walls and reconstructing the road for a smoother ride, according to the city's infrastructure page. The work should be complete by June 2020, Hennepin County communications specialist Colin Cox told Eden Prairie News in an email. The road will re-open to traffic in November, when around 90% of the work is complete, though some lane restrictions will be in place until crews return to finish their work in the spring, he said.
Still left on the to-do list is:
- Paving the shared use trail along the north side of Flying Cloud Drive
- Completing the seven retaining walls
- Paving the final layer of the road
- Adding permanent striping and pavement markings
Eden Prairie Road
Closely tied with Hennepin County's Flying Cloud Drive project is the city's Eden Prairie Road project. The city is rebuilding Eden Prairie Road from Frederick Place to Flying Cloud Drive, according to the project's website. Along with street and storm water improvements are a new sewer, lift station, forcemain and watermain for the Lion's Tap restaurant and nearby homes.
Water and safety were the issues at play in the Preserve Boulevard road work, which began in March 2019 and is scheduled to end this fall. According to the city's project page, the work included:
- Adding a second southbound lane on Preserve Boulevard and related improvements at Anderson Lakes Parkway
- Adding left turn lanes at every intersections on Preserve Boulevard and center medians along the full length of the roadway
- Adding a storm water pump station to pump water from Eden Lake to Neil Lake
- Landscaping to replace around 80 trees removed for the project with a mix of 97 new trees and over 100 shrubs and perennials