Quentin Avenue

An 81-year-old railroad bridge passes over Quentin Avenue in Savage. A request before the Minnesota Legislature seeks $7.4 million to replace the bridge and improve the roadway ahead of major improvements on Highway 13.

A proposal before the Minnesota Legislature looks to secure $7.4 million in state bonds to replace an 80-year-old railroad bridge and narrow underpass slowing traffic on Quentin Avenue in Savage.

The bill, authored by Rep. Jess Hanson (DFL-Burnsville), had a first reading before the House Capital Investment Committee on March 29.

Savage City Administrator Brad Larson said the replacement of two railroad bridges in Savage is needed to improve the flow of regional traffic stemming from the Highway 13 corridor.

“The City of Savage actually forecasted this issue a long time ago and purchased these railroad bridges from Canadian Pacific in 2008 for $10 a piece,” Larson said during testimony before the committee.

The out-of-service Canadian Pacific railroad bridge built in 1941 narrows a portion of Quentin Avenue to a single-lane.

Quentin Avenue serves as a main connection between Highway 13 to the north and County Road 16, or McColl Drive, to the south. Cars approaching the railroad bridge from either direction must stop at a stop sign before proceeding through the narrow, single-lane underpass.

The bridge also creates a point of low clearance on Quentin Avenue, which forces commercial and emergency vehicles to opt for less direct routes.

TRAFFIC FORECASTS

Larson said bottlenecks at the railroad bridge will worsen significantly if the problem isn’t solved ahead of further Minnesota Department of Transportation improvements on Highway 13.

A local traffic study predicts up to 50 vehicles at once could be stopped at the Quentin Avenue railroad bridge in the future, based on traffic volume increases expected to follow improvements on Highway 13.

Site work began last month to construct a grade-separated interchange at Highway 13 and Dakota Avenue, and several other major projects are being planned for the congested, crash-prone stretch of the highway between Savage and Burnsville.

Once the Dakota Avenue project is complete, improvements at the Highway 13 and Quentin Avenue intersection will likely be next, according to Larson.

On Tuesday, the Scott County Board of Commissioners authorized a grant application to seek $10 million in federal transportation funds through the Metropolitan Council for Highway 13 improvements at Quentin and Lynn Avenues.

A conversion of at-grade intersections to grade-separated interchanges is being sought at both intersections, according to county documents.

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