‘Flow’ and ‘movement’ are what Angie Bersaw, Bolton & Menk’s principal transport planner, believes the upcoming road reconstruction will bring to Chaska town center over the next few years.
In an update meeting on July 14, project managers provided more details on concept plans, parking lots and a construction schedule for the Highway 41 and Highway 61 upgrades. .
It’s all part of the Chaska Downtown Highway 41 project, which was thought through over half a decade ago. It would remove a north and south transit lane in the city center and replace them with turning lanes; install new traffic lights; create a pedestrian tunnel under Highway 41; improve sidewalks; and add parking lots.
Construction is scheduled for 2022 and 2023. Here’s where the team stands, including representatives from the City of Chaska, Carver County, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Bolton & Menk.
‘PLACE DES PEOPLE’
Project staff are still working on the final design. But what is clear is that they plan to rebuild Chaska Boulevard in 2022, then begin work on Highway 41 in 2023.
The plan has already been discussed, but it is closer to reality now that the total funding of $ 24.5 million is secured, according to Deputy City Administrator Nate Kabat.
First, there are the parking additions.
The first is north of City Square Park, where there is currently an alley and parking lots. It would adjoin Wells Fargo, Red Bench Bakery and Chaska Moravian Church.
A house would be demolished in the process, said President Paul Paige of HKGI, a landscape architecture and planning firm.
An important part of the plan is the addition of paseos, essentially widened sidewalks serving as pedestrian pathways.
â(We) are kind of reviving that alleyway idea, creating a hallway that works for both moving people and cars,â Paige said at the meeting. “He will focus more on being a place of people.”
The idea is to frame the paseos with an arch, dotting the path with local art or historical signs so that it is obvious that cars cannot circulate there. Think: fairy lights, gazebos, and outdoor seating. We could even build one on the west side of Highway 41, pending further examination.
The second lot is offered just south of City Square Park, accommodating the misplaced parking lot of the first lot.
âThis one is a littleâ¦ easier to imagine because there is an alley between Third (Street) and Second (Street),â Paige said.
The vision there? To allow better circulation of cars, business travelers and emergency vehicles.
Other road specificities will be fixed in the coming months.
By August, the developers hope to solidify the general concept of the project. Between September 2021 and January 2022, after getting an offer, they want to develop construction plans, according to Nicole Krause, communications specialist at Bolton & Menk.
Work along Chaska Boulevard and parking lots could begin by next summer. Then, by fall 2022, Chaska Boulevard (from Highway 41 to Yellow Brick Road) and parking lots should be completed.
The next project would probably take place from spring to fall 2023: the construction of Highway 41 and the completion of the trail and tunnel between Fifth Street and Chaska Boulevard.
âConstruction takes over two years, so it doesn’t have as much of an impact (with road closures) all at once,â Krause said at the meeting.
Kabat said 2022 should be the year to prepare for the design of the library. Once the library moves to another location, City Hall will likely rework that space. Kabat said the city is also considering changes to police stations – “It’s probably a third the size it should be,” he said.
People can ask the developers questions at the River City Days and Taste of Chaska booths, as well as at an open house on August 18 at City Square Park.