Four intersections off Marystown Road have outgrown their rural nature and a safer solution needs to be implemented, Shakopee Public Works Director Steve Lillehaug said at a May 4 Shakopee City Council work session.
At the work session, Lillehaug told the council he’s “passionate” about coming up with a safer solution to the existing intersections at County Road 15 and 17th Avenue, the two interchanges between Marystown Road and U.S. Highway 169 and the intersection at Vierling Drive and Adams Street.
There have been no fatal crashes at the corridor since 2010, when a pregnant mother was killed while making a left turn onto U.S. Highway 169, but Lillehaug said crashes are trending upward.
There were 25 intersection crashes at the corridor reported from 2017 through 2019, and approximately 70% of those crashes were right-angle collisions.
Other issues identified at the corridor included pedestrian gaps that separate residential and school areas on the south side of U.S. Highway 169 from parks and Hy-Vee on the north side.
And the problem will continue to grow as infrastructure in the area expands, the city said. The Trident development off Marystown Road, which is home to the new Veterans Affairs clinic, will eventually cause “significant” traffic delays when fully built out. That could mean up to a three-minute wait for cars at the southerly U.S. Highway 169 ramp intersection.
“Over time, the intersections will degrade and it will mean delays, and what that ultimately means to me is accidents,” Lillehaug said.
Two solutions are traffic signals or roundabouts with the addition of pedestrian trails.
“The study identified that the preference would be to have roundabouts,” Lillehaug said. “With the roundabouts, we can reconfigure the current bridge to accommodate pedestrian trails. But with traffic signals, we can’t reconfigure the bridge because you have to have specific turn lanes. So we’d have to build another bridge, or two, for pedestrians.”
Though no action was taken, the city council seemed to unanimously support seeking funding and approval for the reconstruction of the intersections into four back-to-back roundabouts. Council gave the city consensus to continue to shop for funding.
This isn’t the first time the corridor has been a discussion point for the city. Lillehaug said there has been talk of creating safer options for the corridor since at least 2015, when plans started forming for the Hy-Vee.
Addressing the intersections at the corridor is more difficult than a typical city road reconstruction project due to the number of jurisdictions involved, Lillehaug said.
The city will take action to install temporary traffic signals as soon as possibility, Lillehaug said.
Scott County is the leading jurisdiction at County Road 15 and 17th Avenue, so the city needs to ask the county to initiate a traffic signal warrant analysis and make a request to install a temporary traffic signal at the intersection. The city will be performing the same analysis for the two U.S. Highway 169 interchanges.
City councilmember Angelica Contreras said she lives near the corridor and she often worried about her children, who were crossguards for other students who walked to Jackson Elementary School.
“We need to work on the improvements,” Contreras said. “We’ll find ways to get it done. I don’t want to wait for that accident, for that death. We don’t need to get there.”