Chisago County’s Trunk Highway (TH) 8 Reconstruction Project hosted its second open house on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at Lord of the Lakes Lutheran Church in Forest Lake. The open house was well attended by more than 100 area residents. Project staff hosted the event to share project progress, communicate how alternatives were evaluated, and to keep up the momentum for this important project. The large turnout and input received from attendees demonstrated the substantial interest in seeing this project continue to move forward.
What We’ve Heard:
General concerns regarding access and safety on Trunk Highway 8 and associated side streets.
General questions regarding the project’s expected timeline.
"Consider the addition of an access road from Deer Garden Lane to Karmel Avenue."
"Consider the inclusion of an underground culvert for bicycle and pedestrian use at the intersection of Trunk Highway 8 and County Highway 23."
"I love the 4-lane separated highway concept. Consolidating access points should also make a big difference."
"Please don’t use Reduced Conflict Intersections (RCI) intersections. They don’t seem practical for this project."
"Please consider the seasonal businesses along this road project like mine when you are scheduling road closures."
"Love it! Appreciate the safety aspect. Hopefully less noisy rumble strips."
"I am very concerned about the noise impact as well as impacts to the lakes."
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Momentum is building for getting critical improvements to the Highway 8 corridor. Over the summer a series of public engagement events were held along the corridor to gather feedback on issues, concerns, and ideas for the roadway. Five events were held, including four pop-up workshops and an open house. These events drew thousands of comments from over 300 people.
The clear messages gathered from these events was that the roadway is unsafe and there are mobility concerns. After evaluating community feedback and technical analysis, the project team, led by Chisago County, will be developing initial concept alternatives that address these community concerns. Another round of public engagement is anticipated to begin in December.
Highway 8 is an important interregional corridor that serves a variety of transportation needs. It is vital to sustaining local commerce and energizing future economic growth and vitality.
In recent years, Highway 8 has become increasingly strained due to high levels of daily commuters, large trucks hauling freight, and spikes in weekend recreational traffic.
A proliferation of secondary roads and private driveways provide direct access to and from Highway 8 which contribute to safety and mobility issues.
There have been a number a serious crashes in recent years, including 4 fatalities.
We're Working to Improve Highway 8
Chisago County is leading a project to get moving on identifying a long-term solution to improve safety and mobility along US Highway 8 from I-35 in Forest Lake to Karmel Avenue in Chisago County.
The first phase of this project will analyze a variety of alternatives along the corridor to address safety and mobility issues, while taking pedestrian and bicyclist needs into consideration.
The project will also explore the addition of pedestrian curb ramps, crosswalks, and a multi-use trail.