The City of Waconia requested $4,500,000 for an $11.1 million Hwy 5 improvement project (41%). The project would upgrade 1.4 miles of two-lane road to an urban four-lane divided road with multiple intersections.
This highway is a two-lane rural-design highway with many access points. The existing highway design is inadequate for a growing community (Annual Average Daily Traffic exceeds 15,000 and 2030 that is expected to be 30,000) in terms of mobility, access, safety, and function. The improvement project will address safety concerns by widening and reducing the number of accesses to and from Hwy 5 (it has a crash rate four times state average). A new signal for Ridgeview Medical Center and closure of 10th Street access is included, and a partial frontage road system is created. The wider road is expected to improve emergency vehicle response times to the hospital. Pedestrian facilities are also included. This project improves pedestrian modes and supports heavy commercial traffic, which is 6 percent of traffic through this corridor.
Economic Development Impacts
The project supports job creation for many employers in the area. For example:
- Ridgeview Medical (two-year jobs estimate: 130— five-year jobs estimate: 260),
- Good Samaritan Society (two-year jobs estimate: 30—five-year jobs estimate: 30)
- Waconia Ford (two-year jobs estimate:1—five-year jobs estimate:2)
- Waconia Mill IV (two-year jobs estimate: 25—five-year jobs estimate:40)
- Auburn Homes and Services (five-year jobs estimate: 30).
The salaries for these jobs range from $40,000-$62,000. Waconia is a rapidly growing community with a population of approximately 11,000 today, and it is expected to grow to 20,000 in 2020. Ridgeview Medical is planning an expansion in 2015 that will add 130 new jobs. An additional expansion planned in 8-10 years adds another 130 jobs. Good Samaritan is expanding in fall of 2013, adding 30 jobs. Several other retail, restaurants, and housing development is expected in the area. New property tax collections from these developments are projected to generate an estimated $395,000/yr.