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Help on the way for 16th Street Southwest traffic

Relief for traffic congestion on 16th Street Southwest (County Road 25) near Apache Mall is on the way, as the city and Olmsted County make plans for a traffic signal near Mayowood Road.

In recent years traffic has increased on the east-west roadway between South Broadway and U.S. 52, especially during the holiday season.The road provides access to Apache Mall and Apache Shoppes, where Trader Joe's and Chuck E. Cheese's draw many customers.

Congestion on 16th, at times, makes it difficult for drivers on some of the side streets, said Rochester City Council member Ed Hruska.

"When you're taking a left-hand turn from Mayowood onto 16th it's literally impossible. I've seen people sit there for long periods of time, and they get kind of impatient and they start pulling out, so it's very dangerous at times," he said.

The city will be working with the county, which has jurisdiction over 16th Street, to reconstruct the intersection at Mayowood Road and add a traffic light, which should help regulate traffic on 16th, Hruska said. The estimated cost is $700,000, according to the county's Public Works department.


However, the project will not begin until spring or summer of 2014 due to a bridge project by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

MnDOT will close the U.S. 14 overpass at U.S. 52 this summer to reconstruct that bridge's deck. The bottom of the deck is deteriorating, said Tom Miles, MnDOT chief bridge safety inspection engineer.

"Our maintenance guys are keeping up with it now, but we don't want pieces of concrete falling down onto U.S. 52, obviously," Miles said.

The bridge project, expected to begin in July, should take six weeks and the estimated cost is $1.6 million, he said. MnDOT's official detour will be 16th Street Southwest to South Broadway, which is why the 16th-Mayowood intersection project will wait until 2014, said City Administrator Steve Kvenvold.

In the meantime, however, MnDOT will be putting up a temporary stoplight at that intersection, Miles said.

"There's been concern expressed about the backups as it is now ... so, we're going to put that in to keep traffic moving smoothly through there during construction," he said.

Development in the area

Traffic on 16th Street is expected to keep growing because of development in the area. And more is on the way.


JCB Investments, of Rochester, is getting ready to start construction this summer on a senior housing campus with about 150 independent and assisted living apartments and additional memory care units. It will be on a 6.8-acre site in the southwest quadrant of 16th Street and Mayowood Road.

JCB purchased the land from the Toogood family, which also owns vacant land directly across 16th Street. That northern parcel is slated for some type of residential and/or low intensity commercial development, although nothing has been proposed so far, said Bill Tointon, president of McGhie & Betts Inc., which is assisting the Toogoods with the marketing of the property.

The county will be paying for the 16th Street-Mayowood intersection and stoplight project, and the city will reimburse the county for 25 percent of the cost, according to a recent agreement between the two governments.

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