Pedestrian tunnel under river road will also be dug.

It will be another summer of dust and noise for those who live near the Highland Bridge development, but this year they can expect street closures and traffic delays as well, as three intersections on the edge of the 122-acre site are reconstructed and a tunnel for bicyclists and pedestrians is dug under Mississippi River Boulevard.

The intersections of Ford Parkway and Cretin Avenue, Ford and Mount Curve Boulevard, and Montreal and Cleveland avenues will be rebuilt with new features to handle the traffic increases expected with the build out of Highland Bridge.

Highland Bridge master developer Ryan Companies and the Saint Paul Public Works Department are planning the street work. According to David Kuebler of Public Works, the intent is to keep the streets open to traffic as much as possible. Last summer, some of the work at Highland Bridge was done at night to minimize disruptions for local residents and businesses when water had to be shut off. Nighttime work will not be done this year, Kuebler said.

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The reconstruction of Ford and Mount Curve will take place from early April to early June. Work at Ford and Cretin will begin in June and wrap up by mid-July. The intersection of Cleveland and Montreal will be reconstructed between mid-July and the end of summer.

The new extensions of Cretin, Mount Curve, Woodlawn and Montreal into the Ford site will also be completed this year, along with a portion of Bohland Avenue and the new street Village Way, according to Nick Koch of Ryan.

The reconstruction of the three major intersection projects will involve underground utility work and drainage improvements. Some of the water runoff on Ford Parkway will be captured underground and treated for circulation through Highland Bridge’s large central water feature.

Highland Bridge will include a city first for cyclists, according to city engineer and transportation planner Reuben Collins — separated off-street one-way bike lanes on either side of Mount Curve and Cretin. The bike lanes will connect to a future bike lane on the south side of Ford Parkway.

The intersections of Ford-Cretin and Ford-Mount Curve will get new corner bumpouts, new crosswalk markings, new traffic signals, new street striping and signage. The extensions of Mount Curve and Cretin into Highland Bridge will each have two traffic lanes as well as turn lanes. The Cretin extension will also have room for a dedicated transit lane if such a lane is designated in the future.

Cleveland and Montreal will be rebuilt with four-way stop signs, corner bumpouts and new crosswalks. The new extension of Montreal will have a center median, two lanes of traffic, off-street bike lanes and sidewalks.

Plans for the reconstruction of the three intersections were reviewed earlier this month by the transportation committees of the Sainnt Paul Planning Commission and Highland District Council (HDC). HDC Transportation Committee member Cory Reiman asked why four-way stop signs are planned for the Cleveland-Montreal intersection. “I would think a roundabout would make more sense there,” he said. Kuebler said the four-way stop signs were recommended in an earlier traffic study, though that decision could be revisited.

Highland Bridge will include a city first for cyclists, according to city engineer and transportation planner Reuben Collins—separated off-street one-way bike lanes on either side of Mount Curve and Cretin. The bike lanes will connect to a future bike lane on the south side of Ford Parkway.

The new bike lanes are a welcome addition, according to Tony Kutzke of the Planning Commission’s Transportation Committee. He noted that Highland Bridge is eventually expected to generate 5,500 pedestrian and bicyclist trips per day.

The 2021 construction timeline for the tunnel under Mississippi River Boulevard near Hidden Falls Park has not been set, but it too will mean street closures and off-street bike and pedestrian trail closures.

— Jane McClure

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