ST. PAUL – A legislative proposal that would address traffic and safety concerns along Highway 65 in Blaine has overcome a major roadblock thanks to the work of State Representative Nolan West (R-Blaine) as the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has agreed to develop a study for the roadway.
“This is fantastic news for Blaine residents, but it should have been in the works long ago,” West said. “It shows MnDOT understands how dangerous Highway 65 is now, and the need to decrease congestion and make long overdue improvements in this area. This study is the first step in that process.”
Last year, West sponsored legislation ordering the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to study traffic flow and safety improvements from County Highway 10 to Bunker Lake Blvd, including the 109th Avenue intersection. West was able to convince House lawmakers to include the Highway 65 study in its transportation funding bill last session but it was ultimately dropped in negotiations with the Senate and governor.
Last week, Rep. West met with MnDOT officials to discuss the urgency for the Highway 65 study. On March 1, West received notice from MnDOT that the department is “developing a corridor planning study of Highway 65 from approximately Highway 10 to Bunker Lake Boulevard that will begin this summer and last for approximately two years.”
According to MnDOT, the study will involve identifying current and future traffic, access and connectivity issues for all roadway users; prioritizing improvement locations; developing alternative intersection layouts; and identifying environmental concerns; and will have a public involvement component as well.
“As the City of Blaine has grown over the years and Highway 65 has become more dangerous, it’s clear we need to make changes to this very popular road and intersection, and I’m pleased MnDOT was receptive to my concerns,” West said. “Moving forward, I will keep residents updated on any new developments and I encourage them to share their Highway 65 input with me.”
West also noted that a construction project will be taking place this summer on Highway 65, as left turn lane extensions will be made at 99th Avenue, 105th Avenue, 109th Avenue, and 117th Avenue.