Project Update

Current Project Status

  • Northern Rochester Transportation Study completed - The City of Rochester and Mn/DOT Project Team members have completed the NRTS. A final public meeting for the project was held on May 19, 2011 (see News).
  • West Frontage Road between 55th and 65th Streets - Currently, there are no plans for construction of a west frontage road along either the Clearwater Road or Chateau Road alignment within the 2035 timeframe.
  • Highway 52/65th Street Interchange - Based on the recommendations of NRTS, a folded diamond interchange at the intersection of 65th Street NW and Highway 52 is proposed for construction to begin in 2013. The project also includes auxiliary lanes on Highway 52 between 55th Street NW and 65th Street NW and realignment of the west frontage road in the northwest quadrant of the interchange area. Engineering design and environmental studies are currently underway.
  • Phasing Plan for 55th Street Improvements - A plan has been developed for the phased implementation for the recommended improvements at 55th Street. The phasing plan was summarized in the Phased Improvement Memorandum ( Documents - Technical Memorandum 6).

Next Steps

  • Highway 52/65th Street Interchange Project - Environmental Documentation process will be completed in June 2012. Construction is proposed to begin in 2013, contingent on the passage of the Rochester Sales Tax extension in November 2012.
  • Phase I - 55th Street Improvement Project - The City has secured funding for improvements along 55th Street within the Highway 52/55th Street interchange area. It is anticipated that the first phase of the 55th Street improvements will include the widening of the 55th Street Bridge, intersection improvements at the ramp terminals, and traffic signal timing revisions. Construction is proposed in 2014.
  • Subsequent Projects - The following improvement projects will be phased over the next 25 years based on future needs and funding availability:
    • Phase II - 55th Street Improvement Project: Including the easterly relocation of the East Frontage Road/Bandel Road intersection.
    • Phase III - 55th Street Improvement Project: Reconfiguration of the Highway 52/55th Street interchange.
    • Phase IV - 55th Street Improvement Project: Upgrade 55th Street to a six-lane divided roadway between the relocated East Frontage Road/Bandel Road intersection and Member's Parkway.
    • 65th Street west of Highway 52: Reconstruct 65th Street between 50th Avenue and the west frontage road.

Recap of Study Progress

The initial year of this study was spent reviewing existing and projected future conditions in the study area related to traffic, safety, and social, economic, and environmental issues. In addition, since this study is a follow-up to a transportation study conducted in 2005-2006 (but not completed due to funding shortfalls), valuable data from this as well as other previous planning studies in the area was also considered. The results of this data collection effort led to the identification of the following key study area issues and needs:

  • Congestion and safety issues exist along 55th Street NW due to heavy traffic volumes and closely spaced signalized intersections
  • Lack of a west frontage road between 55th Street NW and 65th Street NW for local traffic circulation
  • Access spacing issues exist along the East Frontage Road (Bandel Road) between 55th Street NW and 65th Street NW causing congestion and safety issues
  • Desire for new access to Highway 52 at 65th Street due to development pressure surrounding this area
  • Need to preserve mobility, operations, and safety on Highway 52

The study committee identified a preliminary set of improvement alternatives aimed at addressing these key project issues and needs. These alternatives included the following elements:

  1. 55th Street NW Interchange Reconstruction - Increase capacity through the addition of travel lanes and intersection improvements as well as improve intersection spacing (i.e., consideration of alternative interchange configurations and traffic control methods)
  2. 6-lanes on 55th Street NW between Chateau Road and the East Frontage Road (Bandel Road)
  3. Addition of a West Frontage Road between 55th Street NW and 65th Street NW
  4. Access management solutions for driveways to businesses and homes along the East Frontage Road just north of 55th St
  5. 65th Street NW Interchange - Consideration of several interchange configurations with the intent to optimize traffic operations while minimizing right of way impacts as well as cost
  6. Additional local roadway capacity improvements (additional lanes and/or intersection turn lanes, intersection improvements, traffic control devices, etc.)

This preliminary set of improvement alternatives was presented to the public at an informational open house in April 2010.

Based on input from the public and regulatory agencies and additional analysis, a final set of recommended improvements was developed. The recommended improvements include the following elements:

  1. Construction of a new folded diamond interchange at Highway 52 and 65th Street NW and add auxiliary lanes on Highway 52 between 55th Street NW and 65th Street NW
  2. Relocation of the 55th Street East Frontage Road
  3. Expand to six lanes the section of 55th Street NW between Members Parkway and the East Frontage Road (Bandel Road)
  4. Reconstruction of the interchange at Highway 52 and 55th Street NW as a single point urban interchange
  5. Additional local roadway capacity improvements (e.g., additional lanes and/or intersection turn lanes)

Project Schedule

NRTS Project Schedule

The City of Rochester and Mn/DOT Project Team members together with SRF Consulting Group, Inc. have completed the NRTS. The ultimate goal of this effort was to develop a unified transportation plan for northwest Rochester that can be implemented over time to address long-range traffic demands. The NRTS was completed to help local officials guide future land use and local infrastructure improvements, preserve right of way, and secure funding for the future phased implementation of the recommended improvements to City, County, and State roads in the study area.

The remaining schedule for the NRTS is summarized below:

  • Highway 52/65th Street Interchange - Engineering design and environmental studies are currently underway for a new folded diamond interchange at the intersection of 65th Street NW and Highway 52.
    • Environmental documentation process will be completed in June 2012.
    • Construction on the Highway 52/65th Street interchange is anticipated to begin in 2013, contingent on the passage of the Rochester Sales Tax extension in November 2012.
  • Phase I – 55th Street Improvement Project - The City has secured funding for improvements along 55th Street within the Highway 52/55th Street interchange area. Engineering design and environmental studies are currently underway for the first phase of the 55th Street improvements which includes the widening of the 55th Street Bridge, intersection improvements at the ramp terminals, and traffic signal timing revisions.
    • Construction is proposed in 2014