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Author Topic: Minnesota Notes  (Read 119465 times)

Mdcastle

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Minnesota Notes
« on: April 18, 2012, 07:54:36 PM »

Traffic signals:
1) The new Mn/DOT signals are going away from the green base, yellow pole, grey arm and light pole design in favor what looks like an unpainted metalic finish for the entire assembly, one of the new ones is at MN 77 and Shakopee Road. It kind of looks like unbrushed aluminum, but I would think that would be too expensive for signal poles.

2.) I also spotted a new Minneapolis style, at Franklin and East River Road. It looks like the heads are designed to be LED from the begining, they're too thin to hold an incandescent lamp, and the back looks to be a heatsink.

3.) Flashing Yellow Arrows are starting to spread, all the lights between US 212 and MN 5 on County 4 have been converted, Minnesota exclusively uses [a four lens assembly] for FYAs.

Speed limit on US 212 from the drop from 65 east of County 4 to just west of US 169 has been raised from 55 to 60.

There's somewhat of a spat about a garden variety overpass replacement. The Xerxes Ave "truck eating bridge" is going to be replaced in order to build a westbound auxillary lane between I-35W and MN 100. The original plan was to allow space in the I-494 median for future transit use, but realizing now that will be decades, if ever, the proposed Xerxes bridge will not accomodate that. Richfield is mad because they paid for extra ROW for the Penn project to accomodate that, and wants to be paid back. If they want to play nasty they could withold municipal consent and send it to binding arbitration.

In "how many people does it take not to change a light bulb" there was an ancient mercury fixture at 90th and 35W. I contacted Mn/DOT twice, The City of Bloomington twice, and XCEL Energy (which maintains city owned lighting) twice. In the end it turns out it was replaced by a pole across the road and missed getting removed, so it is now gone.

I'm seeing more and more rectanguler 3 digit rectangular sign blanks for state routes in the metro. I contacted Mn/DOT asking if it was a new standard, and they said "no, but we sometimes use on for certain digits that are hard to fit on a square blank like a '6'". However I've seen them for all numbers, including ones like 101 which they should have no trouble fitting, and unanswered is how they managed to fit them in the past since the present design dates from the 1960s. It does seem to vary, generally the rectangular ones are newer, but I saw a faded rectangular 101 in the middle of some new square 101s.


Also, a while ago I asked if there were any plans to change the design, and I was told officially no, but some of the engineer types would like to drop the gold and use white instead, since the gold tends to fade badly to the point they're almost white anyway. I think the blue and gold are beautiful on a green sign (and thus form the unofficial state colors) but they don't stay that way.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 08:40:04 AM by Mdcastle »
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agentsteel53

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2012, 08:18:14 PM »

it was replaced by a pole across the road and missed getting removed, so it is now gone.

could you please clarify this?  if it was not removed, why is it gone?
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adt1982

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 10:24:34 PM »

I believe what he meant was that there were many of these lights.  They were replaced by new poles on the opposite side of the road.  This pole was not removed right after the new poles were installed, but it has since been removed.
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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 10:45:49 PM »

I believe what he meant was that there were many of these lights.  They were replaced by new poles on the opposite side of the road.  This pole was not removed right after the new poles were installed, but it has since been removed.

gotcha, thanks!
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twinsfan87

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 11:26:58 PM »

3.) Flashing Yellow Arrows are starting to spread, all the lights between US 212 and MN 5 on County 4 have been converted, Minnesota exclusively uses their standard 5 lens vertical head used for protected/permissive installations for FYAs.

I'm confused... why would they use a 5-section head for FYAs? I haven't been out to Eden Prairie for a while, so I'm not sure what they're doing out there, but the FYAs I've seen by MnDOT and Hennepin County are the standard 4-head vertical FYA signals.
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Mdcastle

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 11:41:00 PM »

Yes, that's right, it was replaced by a new sodium light across the street but they didn't remove the old one at the time. I hate to be the one causing abandoned infrastructure to be lost, but we're talking about a single 1960?s streetlight, not a camelback truss bridge. I was hoping it was still meant to be in use and they'd relamp it, but apparently that's not the case.

I caused some highway signs to be removed too, US 169 used to be signed between Virginia and the "Ely Cutoff" even though it officially ends at 9th St N in Virginia (where US 169 used to meet US 53 before US 169 was rerouted). I informed Mn/DOT of the error, but they simply took down the US 169 shields without putting up any MN 169 ones.

FYAs- actually they may have been 4 lens arrays. I'll have to check when I get out there again, I wasn't close to them. Now that I think of it I also noted some FYAs on MN 22 in Mankato when I was down there two weeks ago.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 11:43:11 PM by Mdcastle »
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Mdcastle

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2012, 09:54:04 PM »

Two familiar companies are bidding for work in the Stillwater Bridge. URS Consultants, which was the consultanting firm which reviewed the I-35W bridge just before it collapsed, and also was a consultant on the Sabo bridge, where cable anchors catastrophically failed. Governor Dayton is not amused and is considering an executive order not allowing them to have any more state contracts.

Also bidding for a contract to review the Stillwater design is Jacobs engineering, sucessor company to the original I-35W designers. URS has settled litigation without admitting fault; I'm not sure of the status of litigation concerning Jacobs.
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The High Plains Traveler

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2012, 06:38:34 PM »

Two familiar companies are bidding for work in the Stillwater Bridge. URS Consultants, which was the consultanting firm which reviewed the I-35W bridge just before it collapsed, and also was a consultant on the Sabo bridge, where cable anchors catastrophically failed. Governor Dayton is not amused and is considering an executive order not allowing them to have any more state contracts.

Also bidding for a contract to review the Stillwater design is Jacobs engineering, sucessor company to the original I-35W designers. URS has settled litigation without admitting fault; I'm not sure of the status of litigation concerning Jacobs.
The guy who was the State Bridge Engineer when I worked for MnDOT in the late 1980s went to work for URS after he retired from the state. I believe he was on the project team that consulted for MnDOT on the I-35W downtown Mississippi River bridge before it collapsed.
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Milepost61

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2012, 09:54:42 PM »

What's the work being bid for the Stillwater bridge? Is it final design or something else?
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Milepost61

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2012, 09:58:32 PM »

Traffic signals:
1) The new Mn/DOT signals are going away from the green base, yellow pole, grey arm and light pole design in favor what looks like an unpainted metalic finish for the entire assembly, one of the new ones is at MN 77 and Shakopee Road. It kind of looks like unbrushed aluminum, but I would think that would be too expensive for signal poles.
Probably just galvanized steel. Very utilitarian look but lasts a long time. Painted steel can start to rust after not too long if the powder coating process isn't done well.
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Mdcastle

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2012, 09:43:02 PM »

Yes, I looked at some of the minutes of the Mn/DOT signal comittee and galvanized steel is the new standard. (For some reason I thought galvanized steel couldn't be left exposed.) Mn/DOTs position is a galvanized finish is a suitable finish, and if local agencies want it painted now they have to pay 100% of that cost. Like all kinds of other exposed metal, say cars, traffic signals rust badly up here after a few years. I found out something else neat, in Eden Prairie there's a mast-arm mounted doghouse signal that operates split phase at peak periods, and permissive with a FYA at non-peak periods, Mn/DOT got pmission from the feds to use it and it's the first in the country, although Mn/DOT intends to expand coverage.

Bridge Contracts: there are three out right now. 1)Test shafts, awarded to Bolander and Sons for $3.5 million, 2)Final design, which URS is among the bidders, 3)Peer review of final design, of which Jacobs is a bidder.
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Mdcastle

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2012, 03:04:03 PM »

A contractor goofed and put up some "US 35W" shields for the MN 13 construction. Unfortunately they were fixed by the time I got back with my camera.

Post Merge: May 15, 2012, 05:48:42 AM
Of note from my weekend trip:

Overhead signs along MN 60 and US 169 are being replaced with reflective signs and the lighting is being shut off

Not much activity along MN 60 expressway conversion southeast of Worthington. A lot of traffic was using the "old detour" even though they aren't supposed to. The "old" detour had a dynamic "your speed" signs, and they uprooted and left the signs at the entrances to the old detour rather than removing them. I'm thinking they might restore that as the detour route now that the frost damage has been fixed. The two lane sections are among the selected two-lane roads signed at 60mph.

Business MN 60 through St. James is now signed with standard Mn/DOT business signs.

When entering the two lanes sections of MN 60 (to be converted to 4 lanes in an upcoming pork barrell project) they want to make sure you're aware, of note the advance signs read "4 lanes end" not the usual "Expressway Ends", there is a flashing outlined two way traffic sign, and a dynamic speed readout sign.

A lot of the MN markers are nice and fresh.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 05:48:42 AM by Master son »
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froggie

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Upcoming new interchanges in Minnesota
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 11:09:49 AM »

An earlier comment of mdcaste's got me to thinking just what new interchanges are planned in Minnesota.  Below is a list of all the interchanges (including interchange reconstructions) that are funded and scheduled.  While many more interchanges are proposed, I did not include those that are unfunded (and thus not scheduled).

MN 7/Louisiana Ave in St. Louis Park - a diamond interchange with roundabouts will be built this year.  This comes on the heels of the interchange built at Wooddale Ave recently.
US 10/Benton CSAH 2 in Rice - Planned for 2013, this is best described as an elongated diamond, and would replace the existing signal that is a notable bottleneck during summer weekends.
US 10/Otter Tail CSAH 34 near Pelham - a diamond interchange is being built this year.  This is on the existing Pelham bypass.
MN 13/Old MN 101 in Savage - A weird 3-way interchange is already under construction and will be completed this year.
MN 13/Dakota CSAH 5 in Burnsville - A partial folded-diamond (with a WB off-ramp loop) is planned for 2012-13.  This is just west of I-35W.
US 14/Nicollet CSAH 41 near Mankato - Long proposed and finally funded to begin this year, this will extend the existing freeway around Mankato west to CSAH 6 and build a partial folded-diamond interchange with roundabouts at CSAH 41.
US 14/Blue Earth CSAH 12 - At the other end of the Mankato freeway, a folded-diamond with the off-ramps as loops will be built at an extended CSAH 12.
US 14/Waseca to Owatonna - Construction on the new US 14 freeway between Waseca and Owatonna will be completed this year.  It includes interchanges at MN 13 (already half-open), Steele CSAH 18, a relocated Steele CSAH 7, and a full cloverleaf at I-35.
MN 15/Stearns CR 120 in St. Cloud - Minnesota's second diverging diamond interchange will be built in 2012-13.
MN 15/33rd St in St. Cloud - This is a locally driven project that will build a new interchange in 2014 on the existing MN 15 freeway on the south side of St. Cloud.  I couldn't find anything on the preferred design, although the alternatives considered were all some sort of folded-diamond or partial folding diamond.
MN 23/Paynesville Bypass - To be completed this year, the Paynesville Bypass will include 3 interchanges:  a folded-diamond at a relocated Cemetery Rd, a diamond at MN 55/4, and a half-interchange at the east end of the bypass.  The bypass proper will not be full freeway as there will be at-grade intersections in between.
MN 23/MN 95 to Foley - Though not an interchange project, I thought it was of note that 4-lane widening of MN 23 between MN 95 and Foley will be completed this year.
I-35E/Cayuga Bridge in St. Paul - The long-proposed plan to replace the Cayuga Bridge on I-35E just north of downtown St. Paul will take place starting in 2013.  The plan eliminates the 3/4 interchange at Pennsylvania Ave and builds a new full interchange (a folded-diamond to the north) at Cayuga St.  Also included in the plan will be MnPASS lanes on I-35E.
I-35W/4th St in Minneapolis - Construction will begin this year on a new on-ramp from 4th St to northbound I-35W near downtown Minneapolis.
MN 36/English St in Maplewood - One of two MN 36 interchanges Monte mentioned previously, a diamond interchange will be built on MN 36 at English St in Maplewood in 2014.  Along with the closure of access at Hazlewood St, this project will effectively extend the MN 36 freeway to MN 120.
MN 36/Hilton Trl in Pine Springs - The other interchange Monte mentioned, to be built next year.  It'll be a tight diamond with roundabouts at the ramp junctions.
MN 36/Stillwater Bridge - Now that Congress and the President have approved an exception to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (as mentioned in another thread), construction is expected to begin on a new Stillwater Bridge next year.  The project includes a full diamond interchange at MN 95 (instead of the half-interchange existing today) and a full diamond possibly with roundabouts at CTH E on the Wisconsin side.
US 52/Goodhue CSAH 24 in Cannon Falls - A diamond interchange with roundabouts will be built starting next year.  This long-awaited project will eliminate the last two traffic signals on US 52 between St. Paul and Rochester.
US 52/Elk Run (near Oronoco) - To be completed this year, this is the state's first diverging diamond interchange, being built at a relocated Olmsted CSAH 12 about halfway between Oronoco and Pine Island.  Along with planned frontage road improvements, this effectively extends the US 52 Rochester freeway segment to the Olmsted/Goodhue County line (but not all the way to/through Pine Island).
US 52/Dakota CSAH 47 in Hampton - To be built this year, this will be a folded-diamond to the north, but some existing access points in Hampton will remain and so this won't make a full freeway through Hampton.
US 52/Dakota CSAH 86 near Cannon Falls - Planned for 2013, this isn't an interchange project per-se, but I found it of interest.  MnDOT plans to build what they're calling a "Reduced Conflict Intersection".  Effectively a 3/4 intersection with U-turns, it'll close the through and left-turn movements from CSAH 86, but left turns from US 52 will remain, and U-turns will be built in the US 52 median on either side.  It's very similar to the intersection improvements Maryland has done on US 15 north of Frederick and US 301 on the Eastern Shore, or the "Superstreet" concept of NCDOT.
I-94/Albertville - Already under construction, this project modifies the I-94 interchanges in Albertville.  The CSAH 37 interchange will be rebuilt as a partial-folded diamond (with a WB on-ramp loop), effectively a full diamond interchange at CSAH 19, and C/D roads between the two interchanges.
MN 100/St Louis Park - The long-awaited full reconstruction of MN 100 in St. Louis Park will begin in 2015.  The plan includes reconstructing the interchanges at MN 7 (into a 5-ramp par-clo) and CSAH 5/Minnetonka Blvd (into a tight diamond).
MN 101/Hennepin CSAH 144 in Rogers - Planned for 2014, this project will effectively complete a freeway on northbound MN 101 between Rogers and Elk River (signals will remain for southbound MN 101 near I-94).  Three alternatives are being considered:  a diverging diamond, a SPUI, or a tight diamond.
US 169/Scot CSAH 69 in Shakopee - Planned for 2013, this will be a partial folded-diamond with a NB off-ramp loop.  It'll basically extend the Shakopee bypass freeway one interchange west.
US 169/I-494 in Bloomington - Planned for completion this year, this major interchange reconstruction will be a 6-ramp partial-directional interchange.  No direct ramps for EB 494 to NB 169 or SB 169 to WB 494 (most of these movements are assumed to be done using US 212).
US 169/Hennepin CSAH 30 in Osseo/Brooklyn Park - This one had been on the schedule for 2014, though that might change.  It's planned as a half-interchange to the south with 2 loops, and will effectively extend the US 169 freeway north through the MN 610 interchange.
US 212/MN 284 in Cologne - Another "Reduced Conflict Intersection" will be built here this year.
I-694/US 10/MN 51 - This major and long-needed interchange construction begins this year.  It effectively separates the ramps to US 10 and MN 51 onto C/D roads to allow for unimpeded I-694 through lanes.  Curiously, it includes 2 loop ramps on northbound MN 51:  to WB 694 and to WB 10 (via the westbound C/D road).
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twinsfan87

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 12:40:07 PM »

An update regarding the MN 101/CSAH 144 interchange: The preferred alternative is now a diverging diamond.

Thanks for that summary! I didn't know about many of those outstate interchanges.
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flowmotion

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2012, 04:57:59 AM »

Thanks for the list Froggie -- MnDOT has some informative project pages that come right up on Google.

I will miss that old-school I-694/MN 51 interchange though.
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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2012, 05:34:46 PM »

I will miss that old-school I-694/MN 51 interchange though.

You should be missing it now. It's already effectively gone.
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Mdcastle

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2012, 11:35:34 PM »

I've notice Mn/DOT added two traffic lights on MN 7 at MN 100, and now is taking them out at Louisiana and Woodale. And on MN 13 taking out a light at 101 and adding one at Quentin. I drive 13 several times a week because it's between my house and my parents house and Valleyfair, and the single lane for adding the light at Quentin really ties things up to the point I use the Ferry Bridge if it's rush hour. I told my sister what they were doing and she's like "gotta keep the workers busy somehow I guess".
[/rant]

Anyway, a few notes:
Two more business route signage variations on the big green signs on the Willmar bypass. A white 71 shield with business in the top part of the shield, and "Business 71" spelled out. The cutout shields are faded but still there, as is the other nonstandard set. The "294" shields have finally been removed from the big green signs now that the route is  years defunct, they didn't replace the signs, there's a non-faded patch where they used to be.

Paynesville bypass is almost done. The concrete on the bypass is finished and they're doing the asphalt tie-in to the old road on the south end. I was stopped taking pictures at one of the side road crossings and an old couple pulled over and asked if I needed any help. Another guy saw me in Wilmar and asked "what I saw down there". I said I was "taking pictures" as a non-sequitor and left.

The old Sauk Rapids bridge they saved the abutment on the Sauk Rapids side and it's an overlook now, the old road grade has ornamental lumineires and trees and stuff along the trails.

MN 361 is gone from the new highway maps. A vending machine at the St. Cloud rest stop said basically "get rid of your dollar coins here". I remember in 2008 Six Flags Great Adventure had lockers that only took dollar coins, with a vending machine nearby to change bills for coins. My thought was they try to force a politically correct coin that we don't want on us and it gets reduced to the level of a Chuck-E-Cheese token.

Concrete paving was going down on the westbound US 10 lanes between Clear Lake and Big Lake. I remember this stretch as being especially bad. A few FYAs and LED luminaires in Big Lake.

Apparently people don't know what a double white lines means, so the built a concrete wall between the mainline I-94 and traffic coming from the southbound to eastbound loop of 101. I'm happy most of the lights are gone of 101 because it was always aggravating getting behind underpowered vehicles pulling boats coming to or from the north woods.

MN 23 is stripped down to bare earth east of MN 95.

I've decided I like the new bare galvanized signals. They're not as nice as the all black painted ones D1 likes to use, but the green-yellow-silver the rest of the state used looks ugly to me now even before they fade and rust. I guess someone from Iowa DOT, which has used galvanazed for years took a job with Mn/DOT and was influential in the change. Mn/DOT buys most of their lights and signal poles from a company called Millerbend Mfg in Winsted, so they had to switch production to galvanized steel for signals.


« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 10:48:57 PM by Mdcastle »
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Mdcastle

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2012, 02:42:31 PM »

They're getting ready to open the new eastbound mainline bridge over MN 13 at the junction with County 101. The paving is done and the barricades are being removed, MN 13 is closed and they're paving the junction with the eastbound ramps.
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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2012, 03:38:55 PM »

A bit off-topic, Google maps updated their satellite imagery showing a more recent picture of the US-169/I-494 interchange reconstruction. http://goo.gl/maps/M9EJ
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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2012, 11:50:10 PM »

Just digging around the MnDOT site and came across something interesting, they offer free monthly web seminars called Traffic Topics. Including very road geeky subjects such as last months "What's New in the 2011 AASHTO Green Book".
Check it out: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/trafficeng/topics/index.html
« Last Edit: June 28, 2012, 11:56:19 PM by on_wisconsin »
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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2012, 11:55:46 AM »


MN 23 is stripped down to bare earth east of MN 95.


Why doesn't Minnesota just build the new lanes, then move the traffic over to them while they rebuild the old ones? I got caught in this detour last week. Pain inthe butt to go south on MN25 from Foley, then west on MN95 to 23.

rte66man
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Mdcastle

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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2012, 09:24:35 AM »

I have no idea, and that's the way they (still) have listed on their web site. My only thought is that maybe with last year's government shutdown it got delayed and they needed to change the staging in order to get it done this year. I snooped around the area last week and there's no paving anyway, nor does it look like they're anywhere close.
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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2012, 09:32:51 AM »

I suspect Monte's right and this is a result of last year's shutdown.  Even with the inconvenience to the traveling public, this saves MnDOT money vice stretching construction out for another season.  Remember that with Minnesota's winter climate, construction season is shorter than in most other states.

In the past, they have built new lanes and moved traffic to them while rebuilding the old lanes.
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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2012, 05:16:55 PM »

At least you were warned well in advance. If you are westbound, the detour notices start at Milaca.

rte66man
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Re: Minnesota Notes
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2012, 11:20:36 PM »

The Taco Bell at MN 13 and Dakota County 5 is closed in preperation for the new interchange. This was an unusual design since it was a converted Zantigos.  Famous Dave's is still open, as are the other businesses that will be taken. Work is winding up at MN 13 and County 101, they just need to build the permanent signal now, also the confirmation signs in the area incorrectly use a black on white tab meant for US markers.
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