65th Street interchange to open Friday
Businesses and residents will get a new outlet to the growing north end of Rochester on Friday when the 65th Street Northwest interchange on U.S. 52 is expected to open.
"It's on schedule to be open," said Mike Easley, of Rochester Public Works. "If there's a delay for weather, it would only be a couple of days."
It's been 16 years since the interchange was first proposed, and many expressed frustration that the Elk Run interchange got funded — with no biotech facilities — while 65th Street languished.
Total project cost is an estimated $12 million, funded by Rochester's local-option half-cent sales tax.
Moses Godi, who lives on a side street to East Frontage Road, which runs parallel to U.S. 52 just south of the interchange, said he's unlikely to use the new interchange once it opens — unless a new gas station goes in.
Whether he heads north or south from his street to head to the Twin Cities, he said, "either way it takes gas."
That means he'll need to head south to the nearest gas station to fill up. But if a gas station gets built at the north entrance to U.S. 52, he said, "then it makes a difference."
"I think it'll be easier to get home," he said. "It'll be like a shortcut."
Omer Skoric lives around the corner from Godi.
Skoric said he hopes the new interchange will relieve congestion on 55th Street Northwest, especially during afternoon rush hour. He recently headed home and was thinking somebody's car stalled on the highway.
"But, no, it was just congested," Skoric said.
He worries a little, too, about noise from increasing traffic along East Frontage Road. Already, he said, the noise from U.S. 52 is bothersome.
Caleb Hanson, the new pastor at Midwest Bible Baptist Church, said for businesses, opening the interchange will be good because it will bring more traffic.
Seeding along the area is likely to continue later even though roadwork is wrapping up, Easley said. The work has kept 65th Street Northwest closed mostly since July.