Design on next phase of North Broadway reconstruction continues
Current plans call for adding shared bike and pedestrian path to corridor between Elton Hills Drive and Silver Lake Bridge while maintaining four lanes of traffic.
ROCHESTER — Changes to North Broadway between Elton Hills Drive and the Silver Lake Bridge are expected to reduce traffic speeds.
“It was a former highway, and we’re really looking to transform it into an urban street,” said Rochester City Engineer Dillon Dombrovski of the work expected to start in 2024.
The new design, which will maintain four traffic lanes while reducing an access point and widening some medians, will target a 30 miles per hour speed limit, rather than the existing 40 mph.
Andrew Plowman, WSB transportation design director, said the design of the less than half-mile stretch of North Broadway is approximately 40% complete.
The latest design decision has been to focus on using 12-foot-wide shared-use paths on each side of the street for pedestrians and bicyclists, rather than the separated routes added south of the Zumbro bridge.
“The nature of this area is different from phase one,” Plowman said, pointing out the work south of Silver Lake Bridge included more businesses close to the street.
Additionally, he said the shared-use design helps reduce project cost, adds opportunities for more green space and simplifies maintenance, especially in the winter.
The shared space received unanimous support of the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee on Wednesday and is expected to be part of the final concept recommendation for Rochester City Council approval in the spring.
Prior to that approval, Plowman said an open house is planned for sometime in March to seek public input on the proposed final layout of the street redesign.
At this point, the proposal calls for realigning the intersection at 14th Street Northeast, while closing access at Silver Lake Place Northwest, which sits directly west of 14th Street.
Dombrovski said eliminating the Silver Lake Place Northwest access point has been part of the city’s long-term plan for the area.
The plan is to maintain the four-way intersection with 16th Street heading east and North Brook Lane heading west, but a signal added to control traffic.
Plowman said the intersection changes, along with varied median widths, are aimed to improve pedestrian safety when crossing Broadway.
The proposed changes will also add wider bus stops at the 14th Street and Elton Hills Drive intersections to accommodate what is expected to be a more active bus transit corridor.
With design details continuing to emerge, Plowman said the current schedule calls for seeking a contractor for construction early next year with work starting in the spring.
The reconstruction project is expected to be completed in 2025, and Dombrovski said Public Works staff is working on an updated estimate to the project’s cost.
The preliminary project estimate was $12 million, with the city usings a mix of federal and state funds, along with special assessments from neighboring property owners and local utility funds.