St. Louis Park City Council appears to be "all-in" on a plan to take Highway 7 over Louisiana Avenue via a brand new bridge.
At a Monday study session, several council members voiced support of the plan. And last month, the city got some good news in the form of a $3 million grant from the state's Transportation Economic Development program.
With the grant, roughly $21 million of the project's estimated $25 million price tag has been committed by various entities, including the city, MnDOT and the federal government.
Councilwoman Anne Mavity said that barring an unforeseen setback, she sees no reason not to build the bridge.
“I feel like I’m all in on this," she said. “We’ve gone this far. We need to take this home and get it done.”
To date, the city has spent roughly $1.7 million on project planning. Assuming the unfunded amount doesn't get picked up by someone else, the city will be on the hook for about $11 million when all is said and done.
“I’m on board," councilwoman Sue Santa said. "It’s really needed there. We have to do it.”
Currently, the two busy roads intersect at-grade. The plan calls for Highway 7 to go over Louisiana Avenue, with pedestrian and bike lanes going underneath the new bridge.
In 2010, the council completed a similar project at Highway 7 and Wooddale Avenue, although in that case, the street was raised above the highway. The work cost about $18 million, and the city contributed roughly 44 percent—about the same percentage it would contribute at Highway 7 and Louisiana.
The city is hoping to complete final plans at Highway 7 and Louisiana this summer, and also acquire the necessary right-of-ways. A Clear Channel Communications billboard at the intersection could be the trickiest hurdle, and city staff said Monday that the city will likely have to pay for the sign to be demolished or relocated within St. Louis Park.
The city would then accept bids on the project early next year. The bridge could be open by summer 2014.