(LINO LAKES) – Changes are coming within two years to what appears to be a heavily-used stretch of road through the heart of Lino Lakes.
Anoka County engineers have held two public meetings so far about changes to Birch Street, specifically the stretch in front of Rice Lake Elementary School, and are honing a concept that could bring at least two roundabouts to the road. The county’s studies show that the volume of traffic is not inappropriate for the footprint that exists, but traffic backs up near the school and neighborhood entrances nearby during busy times of the day.
County Engineer Joe MacPherson said there are between 12,000 and 13,000 cars each day on Birch Street.
"We haven't seen it rise staggeringly over the last few years," he said. "A well-designed two-lane road can handle that."
He said roundabouts are the best answer to keep traffic moving at key points, including either side of the school parking lot.
"Roundabouts kind of have a dual purpose," said MacPherson. "They provide a good full access to a lot of individual access points, but they also slow traffic down. They're a natural traffic calming device."
One roundabout would go in at Tomahawk Trail and the other at the intersection with a newly-constructed West Shadow Lake Drive.
As the plan shows, the new design would impact fewer properties than others may.
"If there's an alternative where we can design something that's respectful of their property, we can reduce the amount of taxpayer dollars that are involved in trying to make an improvement," said MacPherson.
To see the plans and the timeline of the project, click here.