Intersection at County Road 46 and Goodwin closing soon

By Bruce Karnick
Posted 7/4/24

It is construction season in Minnesota and Hastings is not going to escape unscathed from the larger projects. The big one affecting area drivers this summer is going to be the intersection of County …

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Intersection at County Road 46 and Goodwin closing soon


It is construction season in Minnesota and Hastings is not going to escape unscathed from the larger projects. The big one affecting area drivers this summer is going to be the intersection of County Road 46 and Goodwin Avenue.
This intersection was slated to have a major update done sometime closer to 2030 but that plan was accelerated once the intersection saw heavy use due to other road closures over the last few years. Several detours from other projects sent a significant increase of traffic through the intersection. That increase became problematic with a sharp rise in accidents and fatalities occurring there.
With the accelerated timeline, Dakota County officials moved efficiently with the communications starting in the summer of 2023 with the preliminary engineering designs and public meetings to gather feedback. In the fall of 2023, they worked with the local residents for the right of way acquisitions which lasted until the spring of 2024. They also added some resources to get the design process out more quickly.
Their final public meeting was held on June 25th, 2024, at the Steelworkers Union Hall just outside of Vermillion Township. There, residents were able to view the final plan of the roundabout and ask any final questions they may have.
According to Keven Krech, Dakota County Design Engineer, they are at the last stage of preconstruction, the selection of a contractor.
“We will accelerate the process to award that contract and then move on to construction. We're hoping to get construction going the end of July, and then the Road will be closed. There will be signs in place a couple of weeks ahead of time, so people know that the detour is coming. The plain is to have construction done by October 31 and to have the intersection reopened on November 1,” he said.
After the Highway 316 project in Hastings, many area residents are questioning the decision to add a roundabout to another area roadway.
“I think generally, people have differing opinions about roundabouts. But the general feedback I've gotten from people on this particular project is something different is needed at this intersection because of the problems and through analysis and study the roundabout is the proper solution for this intersection. So, it will address the traffic issues and or the crash issues that were experienced,” added Krech.
This particular intersection has much more open space around it than was available along the Highway 316 corridor in Hastings. This is going to allow for a much better layout of the roundabout.
“Yep, the geometry of a roundabout is the way it is. So, as they approach, there's a little bit of curvature to the median and the lane and that that helps channelize the traffic and it also influences drivers to start slowing down as they're approaching the circle. Then it orients them as they get really close to the roundabout so that they are pointing in the right direction to make that circular movement, while they can still see the cars that are making their way around the center circle, and just looking off to the left, they don't have to look in any other direction. They just look to their left to see if there's a car coming into their space, and if there's not, they can enter the roundabout,” explained Krech.
The speed of the traffic along both roadways is 55 mph and reasoning dictates that will be a bit higher than that, so that brought up another question, what kind of signage and indicators will there be alerting drivers to slow down for the roundabout?
“There are standard signs you would use for any roundabout so that you can see that the roundabout is coming up and then there will be lighting units on all four legs of the intersection. So, people will be able to see from a distance that there is something up ahead, especially at night because there will be significantly more light at the intersection. Also, the roundabout center circle itself will be elevated four to five feet above the roadway and that helps people identify that there's something coming up. Additionally, the raised concrete median, and the curb and gutter on both sides helps identify that they need to slow down and that action is needed at the intersection coming up,” he added.
With the construction expected to start in the next 30 days, there are already signs around the intersection and some preliminary work being done to help the residents at the intersection. Please take caution over the next few weeks as you travel through the area.
Once the closure takes place, the area will not be passable, and drivers will need to use the detours. Those leaving Hastings to go to Rosemount or any of the towns to the west will need to take Highway 55 west. This will cause a major increase in traffic for an already busy road. Returning to Hastings from that direction will also require the use of Highway 55 east.
A great question that was brought up during the meeting was what about the traffic trying to enter or cross Highway 55 at Goodwin Avenue near Emerald Greens Golf Course and the Wexford event space at Emerald Greens. That discussion took place with two of the engineers on the project. They had run multiple traffic simulations for the area exploring a variety of options with adding traffic lights. They determined that the intersection in question did not require a traffic light to alleviate any concerns.
They will be setting up the same kind of temporary traffic light at the intersection of Highway 55 and County Road 42 as they have used in the past. With the addition of this and the lights already in place in Hastings at General Sieben Drive and Pleasant Drive, the traffic travelling through the intersection at Goodwin Avenue will be clustered, or grouped together and this should allow traffic to have windows to enter 55 with limited wait times of up to three minutes.
For the bigger events at the Wexford, that traffic should not have a major impact on the ability to enter Highway 55, typically because the weddings and similar events out there will end later into the evening when traffic on 55 is already significantly less than normal.
With the construction in the preparation phase, expect to see changes with signs and traffic cones as you use the intersection right up until the closure takes place. Once closed, please stick to the detour routes and drive safe with all the additional traffic added to Highway 55.