About this study
In January 2013, MnDOT and Dakota County brought together a wide range of stakeholders in a collaborative public process to address two related transportation issues on Hwy 77 in Dakota County: traffic bottlenecks and recurring congestion on Hwy 77 northbound during the morning peak period, and impaired performance of the METRO Red Line due to poor access between Hwy 77 and the Cedar Grove transit station in Eagan. The two issues were addressed together to assure compatibility between their solutions.
The project began in a collaborative process with affected stakeholder agencies and the general public to develop agreement around the project goals and criteria for decision-making. During the year that followed, technical analysis was conducted on a wide range of topics including traffic and congestion, transit travel time, capital costs, and many others. The process was conducted with regular involvement of agency stakeholders and the general public.
In December 2013, the project’s Policy Advisory Committee, made up of elected officials and senior staff from nine stakeholder agencies in the corridor, made consensus recommendations to advance both project components:
- Hwy 77 Managed Lane:
Three managed lane options were evaluated against 24 separate criteria. Travel time, congestion, and cost were some of the key considerations in the evaluation.
Recommendation to advance Option 2B (Widen), which would add a third lane between 138th Street in Apple Valley and Diffley Road in Eagan and restripe the existing lanes between Diffley Road and Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington. This would effectively add a managed lane for the length of the project while maintaining the general purposes lanes that exist today. Of the options considered, Option 2B had the best travel time and greatest cost-effectiveness. In conjunction with future improvements on I-494, the solution will improve travel times and reduce future congestion in the corridor.
Although the Hwy 77 project is not a funded project in the MnDOT 20-year investment plan, this recommendation provides needed consensus around the preferred design concept so that the project can proceed in the future when funds are available.
- Cedar Grove Transit Access:
After considering a wide range of potential access configurations, seven concepts were evaluated in detail against 27 criteria. Some of the key considerations were Red Line travel time and passenger minutes saved, safe highway operations, compatibility with managed lane options, and cost.
Recommendation to advance Concept G (Center Station), which would provide a new transit station in the median of Hwy 77 connected to the existing Cedar Grove transit station via an enclosed pedestrian walkway over the highway. Concept G is expected to reduce Red Line round trip travel time by 20% (10 minutes) compared to the existing trip, by far the best travel time of the options considered.