Redefining the Rumors


Last Updated: 
September 8, 2021

169 Redefine Word on the Street Graphic Logo Opens in new windowDo you have a question or have you heard rumors about the project that you'd like to verify? Click the image to the right and submit a rumor or a question!

A project team member will answer your question or address the rumor and we'll post both the rumor and response below.

Q: Will CSAH 33 be impacted?

169 Redefine stops south of CSAH 33 and will not be impacted by it. Sherburne County is working on a separate project to improve some of the tight corners along CSAH 33 east of 169. They are in the design stages of that project and they could provide more information if you desire.

Q: How will the project impact the plan to revitalize Main Street between 10/169? Will Main/Gates remain a four way stop?

While the 169 Redefine project limits will not extend that far west, we will be watching how this corridor functions from a traffic perspective as a result of the improvements to the east. At the present time, it is expected the intersection will remain 4-way stop controlled.

Q: Will the Pine View apartments across from the Circle K gas station be affected during the construction on 169?

‘Affected’ has a wide range of meaning as it is used surrounding this project. It is not anticipated that the Pine View Apartments will be ‘affected’ from a standpoint of acquisition or modification to the buildings or parking areas within said property. The residents of the apartment can expect to be ‘affected’ during construction as access across Highway 169 and Main Street will be limited while the work is being done.

Q: If the Salvation Army and KFC are being taken out due to the 169 Redefine project, what does that mean for the apartment buildings and single family homes located on Baldwin Avenue?

The proposed acquisitions by MnDOT of the Salvation Army and KFC are to provide for stormwater treatment in those locations. The apartments and homes along Baldwin will not be impacted by the project.

Q: Is the belief that many people will use Twin Lakes Road as a way to get around the construction? If so, are there plans to change anything at the intersection of Twin Lakes Road/Twin Lakes Parkway?

Maintenance and control of traffic during construction will be further evaluated and addressed in the final design period where we develop more clarity around staging and anticipated off-highway impacts/needs. The functionality of the entire Twin Lakes Road corridor during construction will certainly be part of those considerations.

The CSAH 13 project, being completed in 2021, will improve functions at this intersection.

Q: How is this forecasted to impact home values in affected areas? Short term, during construction, long-term and after completion?  Noise pollution is a concern. Has there been a study to predict property values and this highway expansion?

MnDOT is currently updating the noise analysis for the project. The results of this work will help determine if/where noise mitigation treatments are necessary. There are no accurate means to predict valuation changes. The City of Elk River is encouraged that the safety, improved mobility, and ultimate quality of life benefits delivered by the completed project will result in the prosperity of our entire community.

Q: Hwy 169 design from MnDOT should be in its final stages. What is the status of the 5th Street changes on the east side of town? Is it still on the books or has it been erased?

At this time, we are looking at changes to the Dodge Ave./5th Street/Line Ave. area in 2025, following the full completion of the 169 Redefine project.

Q: I heard that the strip mall where Chipotle and Jimmy Johns is will be torn down. Is that true?


Q: When will any city (Elk River, not MN) acquisitions be made/announced?

The City of Elk River does not anticipate any to be made.

Q: Are any local businesses going to be affected (i.e.) closed permanently due to this project?

Yes, at this time two commercial properties have been identified for full acquisition; the Salvation Army Store and Kentucky Fried Chicken. MnDOT right-of-way agents will work directly with affected owners and businesses in accordance with state law relating to property acquisition and relocation.

Q: What is the extent of right of way acquisition that needs to take place in both dollars and impacts to local businesses? Is it known which intersections will require relocation of businesses along the highway?

At this time two commercial properties have been identified for full acquisition; the Salvation Army Store and Kentucky Fried Chicken. MnDOT right-of-way agents will work directly with affected owners and businesses in accordance with state law relating to property acquisition and relocation. The terms/costs of those acquisitions will be between the property owners and MnDOT.

Q: This is going to bottleneck 169 for years, won’t it?

The construction will result in temporary traffic congestion impacts throughout the city and the region. The completed project is designed to improve overall highway efficiency, safety, and local connectivity.

Q: I wanted to see if the 2 corner lots (shared driveway) on 197th right at  Highway 169 are due for demo (across from BP gas station)?

The homes in the NE corner of Highway 169 and 197th are not expected to be acquired or demolished. 

Q: Are there any plans to lengthen the distance available to merge from 10 west to 169 north? The ramp is long, but the actual distance for merging is extremely short. I feel that this will become a bigger issue when the lights on 169 at 10 are eliminated.

Yes. The improvements include adding an auxiliary lane (essentially a third lane for 169 northbound) from this ramp to the next off ramp for Main Street. This will give substantially more merging distance.

Q: Will traffic on Highway 10 heading westbound back up at the proposed left turn lane at southbound Highway 101?

The project team has evaluated traffic operations and the maximum back-up is estimated to fit within the current design’s westbound left turn lane length.

Q: Is the left turn lane for westbound Highway 10 to southbound Highway 101 able to accommodate extra-long truck traffic?

Yes, the left turn lane and associated ramp are designed to accommodate over-sized loads.

Q: When will construction begin and how long will it take?

Construction is planned to start in 2022, and continue through 2023 and 2024.

Q: Will the Line Avenue access to Main Street be closed?


Q: Will the existing pedestrian bridge north of School Street remain after the project is completed? 


Q: Will Highway 169 be closed during construction?

No, MnDOT plans to keep at least one lane in each direction open for the entirely of the project.

Q: Will sound walls be constructed along the corridor? 

There will be a sound wall on the east side of 169 adjacent to the homes between School Street and 193rd Ave.

Q: How will local street intersections, adjacent to the interchanges, be controlled?

Current design concepts are as follows:

  • Main/Carson side street stop signs will remain, but a future traffic signal may be warranted.
  • Main/Line/Zane will remain signalized.
  • School/Freeport will remain signalized.
  • School/Dodge side street stop signs will remain.
  • 193rd/Holt side street stop signs will remain.
  • 193rd/Evans side street stop signs will remain, however MnDOT is evaluating a signal system.
  • 197th/Holt will remain as a four-way stop intersection.
  • 197th/Evans side street stop signs will remain.

Q: Now the traffic problem will just move north to Zimmerman, what is being done to counter that issue?

Sherburne County has modeled the traffic condition in Zimmerman following the removal of the Elk River signals. While Highway 169 will function adequately on opening day in Zimmerman, Sherburne County will continue to pursue future solutions for the signal on Highway 169 in Zimmerman.

Q: The entire project seems like a waste. Why not just re-time the existing signals along Highway 169?

The existing traffic signals have reached their operational limitations with respect to cycle lengths and there are pedestrian safety concerns crossing a high speed roadway at grade. This project was the highest scoring Corridors of Commerce project for Greater Minnesota based on the following criteria:

  • Return on investment
  • Economic impact
  • Freight efficiency
  • Safety improvements
  • Regional connections
  • Policy objectives
  • Community consensus 

Q: Can bike lanes be incorporated on the local roadways?

At all four major intersections, the current design connects city sidewalks and trails on both sides of Highway 169. On-street bike lanes are not currently planned for the area.