The city of St. Louis Park is prepared to take land if needed to build a new Highway 7 bridge over Louisiana Avenue.
On Monday, the City Council authorized eminent domain, though the city will first try to negotiate with various property owners over the next four months.
In all, there are seven privately owned properties that will be impacted. Two of the seven parcels contain billboards that will have to be removed or relocated. They are owned by Outdoor Advertising and Clear Channel Communications.
Impacts to other properties vary. The city is requesting a small strip of land off of Louisiana on property because the sidewalk will have to move as the road widens. At 7201 Lake St., which houses and Odds and Ends Furniture, two out of four entrances to the building will have to be closed.
Additionally, the Oak Hill Office Building will lose its storm water pond, though the city will be building a new one that tenants can use. Two apartment buildings— and —will also see minor impacts due to construction.
See the attached map for details on all of the city's land needs
The project prompting all this calls for Highway 7 to go over Louisiana Avenue, with pedestrian and bike lanes going underneath the new bridge. Currently, the two busy roads intersect at-grade.
Construction is expected to cost $25 million, with the city picking up $11 million. Other funding is coming from MnDOT, the federal government and a state grant.
In 2010, the city 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's projected to contribute at Highway 7 and Louisiana.
The city is hoping to finish with land acquisitions this year. Bids on the project are expected to be accepted early next year, and the bridge could open by summer 2014.