Trunk Highway 100 Reconstruction
STATE OF MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Metropolitan District SP. 2735 Reconstruction from Glenwood Avenue to 50th Avenue
FHWA Region 5
Trunk Highway 100 in Golden Valley, Crystal, Robbinsdale, and Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Minnesota Federal Project BRSTP 2797(064); BRNH 5402(19); STP 5402( ); NH 5402-(25)
Minnesota State Project 2735-134, 143, 159, 160, 5399, 90667
FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/SECTION 4(f) EVALUATION
Submitted Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c), and Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 116D by the US. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and the Minnesota Department of Transportation
The proposed project begins at Glenwood Avenue and TH 100 in the City of Golden Valley, Minnesota, and extends north/northeast approximately 8.4 kilometers (5.2 miles) along TH 100, terminating north of TH I00 and 50th Avenue North in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
TH 100 is a major regional north-south transportation facility running for 26 kilometers (16 miles) in the western section of the Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities) metropolitan area. Originally built in the 1930s as “Lilac Way,” the roadway was upgraded in the 1940s and designated as TH 100.
TH 100 served as the first “belt line” around the Twin Cities metropolitan area and included some of the state’s first freeway-style interchanges. From the 1960s to the present, various portions of TH 100 south of Glenwood Avenue were upgraded to freeway designs. At the present time, the only non-freeway portion of TH 100 is located within the remaining 8.4 kilometer (5.2 mile) non freeway segment between Glenwood Avenue on the south and 50th Avenue North on the north in the Cities of Golden Valley, Crystal, Robbinsdale, and Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. This segment is the subject of this Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), and it is shown on Figure S-I.
NEED FOR PROPOSED ACTION
In the late 1980s, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) programmed projects to replace the West Broadway bridge and to build interchanges at 36th Avenue North and County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 81. In addition, the TH 100 bridge over TH 55 and the west frontage road crossing of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad tracks were deteriorating and programmed for replacement. Since all of these projects are interrelated, it was determined by Mn/DOT that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is the most appropriate means of considering the comprehensive social, economic, and environmental effects.
Within the study area, TH 100 has a number of deficiencies, including access problems, geometric deficiencies, infrastructure age/condition, and capacity problems. The proposed reconstruction of TH 100 to freeway standards will rectify these shortcomings by reducing the number of access points (and eliminating at-grade access), rectifying geometric deficiencies, reconstructing old or substandard roadway surfaces and structures, improving safety, increasing capacity, addressing transportation demand throughout the regional network, and reducing travel times throughout the regional network.
The TH 100 project will eliminate “right-in/right-out” access points and at-grade intersections. Right-in/right-out access points compromise motorist safety because they do not allow sufficient distance for acceleration, deceleration, and merging. At-grade intersections create delay and conflicts on mainline TH 100. Because of several closely-spaced, at-grade access points, local traffic may use TH 100 to a greater extent than it uses other regional principal arterials with fully controlled access and similar levels of traffic and congestion. In the proposed project, all access to TH 100 will be provided by grade-separated interchanges. Freeway facilities with grade separations have been demonstrated to have lower accident rates than expressway facilities with at-grade access.
This project will correct numerous geometric deficiencies on the existing facility to increase safety. Shoulders, medians, and curves on the highway do not meet current standards and could compromise safety. The current facility is experiencing problems with pedestrians illegally crossing the highway away from permitted crossing locations, and with motorists illegally crossing grassy buffers to access frontage roads. Bridge clearances do not meet current guidelines. The TH 100 mainline has experienced flooding problems due to floodplain crossings and deficient storm sewers. Substandard interchanges at TH 55 and 42nd Avenue North will be improved.
Many of the existing roadway features, including bridge structures, date from the original 1940s construction of TH 100. Four bridges are currently scheduled for replacement because they have reached the end of their design life. The TH 100 roadway surface is in poor to fair physical condition from roadway settlement, shoulder deterioration, and wheel-track rutting.
Operations on TH 100 are compromised by delays and capacity problems. Signalized intersections at 36th Avenue North and CSAH 81 are notable “bottleneck” locations that hold up mainline trips. An analysis of future traffic volumes indicates that the No-Build Alternative will not accommodate the expected travel demand. As a result, drivers who would otherwise use TH 100 will divert to other parallel routes, including local streets, to avoid delay. Reconstruction of TH 100 to a freeway will increase capacity, reduce delay, and serve those vehicles that should appropriately use TH 100 for longer-distance regional trips while reducing the burden on parallel facilities and local streets in the regional network.
5.0 SECTION 106 DOCUMENTATION
Section 5. 0 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference. The following summarizes the findings in the Draft EIS document.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to consider and manage the effects of their actions on the quality of the human environment. NEPA regulations also require agencies to integrate analyses and related studies required by other legislation into this process. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended) mandates that federal agencies, or their designees, consider the effects of their actions on historic properties. Therefore, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, for the purposes of meeting the requirements of NEPA, has integrated the Section 106 process into the development of the EIS in order to fully analyze impacts to cultural resources. For federally-funded highway projects in Minnesota, the Federal Highway Administration has delegated its Section 106 responsibilities to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and the corresponding regulations (36CFR800), Mn/DOT, as the federal agency designee, must consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). This office assists Mn/DOT in identifying historic properties and assessing effects on those properties. If it is determined that an undertaking would have an adverse effect on a historic property, the agency must also afford an independent agency, such as the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an opportunity to comment.
The Section 106 process consists of steps for: 1) identifying and evaluating historic properties; 2) assessing the effects of an undertaking on them; and 3) consultation for methods to avoid, reduce, minimize, or treat possible adverse effects. This section of the EIS summarizes each of these steps for the TH 100 project.
5.1 Identification of Historic Properties
A cultural resource inventory was conducted of the project’s area of potential effect (APE). The APE is defined as the geographic area or areas within which an undertaking will cause changes in land use, traffic patterns, or other aspects that could affect historic properties. A historic property is any prehistoric or historic district, site, structure, or object included in, or eligible for inclusion in, the National Register. In defining the APE, consideration was given to effects resulting from the direct alteration of historic elements as well as to indirect effects (visual and noise impacts, increased pollution, vibration, and access limitations). For the purposes of this study, the area of potential effect included the highway itself, related transportation features (i.e., bridges and landscape amenities), and structures that could be affected visually or by increased noise levels.
The findings of the survey are described in the report, TH I00 Reconstruction: Phase I and 11, Cultural Resources Investigation, prepared by the 106 Group Ltd. This report can be obtained either through Mn/DOT or SHPO. Two areas of historical significance were identified: the Lilac Way Historic District and the Robbinsdale Historic District (see 5.1.] and 5.1.2). The National Park Service defines a district as possessing “a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, or objects united historically or aesthetically by plan or physical development” (NPS National Register Bulletin 15). Both historic districts were determined by Mn/DOT to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The State Historic Preservation Office concurred with this finding in a letter dated May 1 1, 1995. None of the buildings in the study area were determined to be individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. However, a group of houses in the 4200 and 4300 blocks of West Broadway and in the 4200 block of Lakeland Avenue was determined to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as the Robbinsdale Historic District. A more detailed description of the survey results can be found in Section 5.2 in the Draft EIS.
An archaeological survey was conducted of Lyons Park, the only area in the corridor with the potential to contain archaeological material. Though some artifacts were recovered, the material was not considered significant and could not yield information important to either the history or prehistory of Minnesota.
The following summarizes the historic properties identified during the survey.
The Lilac Way Historic District contains the most cohesive collection of original features in the western suburbs of Minneapolis associated with the construction TH 100. The limits of the district include TH 100 right-of-way ranging between the Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge on the south and CSAH 81 on the north (maps showing the limits of the Lilac Way Historic District and the historically significant components are found in Figures 5-1 and 5-4 of the Draft EIS). Although the majority of the original belt around the Twin Cities has been replaced by modern freeways or has been extensively altered, the approximately 4.8-kilometer (three-mile) stretch that defines the historic district survives with its significant elements largely intact. The 2.4-kilometer (1.5-mile) portion of the TH 100 project between CSAH 81 and Brooklyn Boulevard is not considered part of the Lilac Way Historic District. This section was not part of the Depression Era federal relief construction program, and it was not planted with lilacs.
During the 1930s and 1940s, TH 100 was planned and constructed as the belt-line highway around the Twin Cities. The project area contains a significant portion of this initial construction. By 1950, TH 100 had been extended and joined with TH 96 to complete a 106-kilometer (66-mile) radial beltway around Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The individual responsible for the construction of TH 100 was Carl Frederick Graeser (1875-1944), after whom Graeser Park was named (see Section 5. l. 1.6). Central to Graeser’s designs were grade separations at major intersections and railroad crossings, cloverleaf connections, and the opportunity to provide numerous entries into Minneapolis via various urban arteries.
The western stretch of TH 100 was popularly known as the Lilac Way and carried the heaviest traffic around the western outskirts of Minneapolis, thereby solving problems of traffic congestion and safety that plagued the existing pattern of roads leading into the city. The Lilac Way featured a unique beautification plan. Special attention in the design was given to roadside parks and plantings, particularly native lilac bushes. The roadway design epitomized the latest standards for safe and efficient movement of vehicles around the metropolitan areas.
As one of the principal federal work relief projects in the state, the building of the belt-line provided an immediate boost to the economy. The highway also encouraged regional economic development, including tourism and suburban expansion. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided immediate employment to thousands of construction and landscaping laborers and, in 1935, the TH 100 project became a WPA undertaking.
By the mid-1960s, the radial TH 100 belt-line had been substantially replaced in function by Interstate Highways 94, 694, and 494, while two segments were redesignated as Trunk Highways 110 and 120. Despite numerous changes to the corridor since original construction, the Lilac Way Historic District retains many constructed and natural topographic features associated with the original construction.
A historic district is comprised of contributing features that add to the historical associations, architectural significance, or values for which a property is significant. Districts are made up of both contributing and non-contributing elements. The contributing elements of the Lilac Way Historic District include the original roadway alignment and four-lane configuration, the cloverleaf interchange at TH 55, seven original bridges, two wayside parks, service roads, and the original landscape vegetation, notably the lilac bushes along the highway right-of-way. Each of these elements is described in further detail below (see 184.108.40.206 through 220.127.116.11). Although “Lilac Way” originally defined a 201-kilometer (12.5-mile) segment of TH 100 between Edina and Robbinsdale, the proposed 4.8-kilometer (three-mile) historic district between Bridge 5399 (south of TH 55) and CSAH 81 is the longest remaining portion.
The Lilac Way Historic District was determined by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under criteria A and C. These criteria were defined in the Draft EIS or can be found in the National Register Bulletin it 16. Under Criterion A, the district is significant for its transportation and social history. Under Criterion C, it is significant for its landscape architecture and its association with the noted landscape architect, Arthur R. Nichols.
18.104.22.168 The Roadway
Section 22.214.171.124 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference. This section contains a description of the roadway, which is a contributing element of the Lilac Way Historic District. The following summarizes the findings discussed in the Draft EIS.
TH 100 was constructed as a state-of-the-art, four-lane highway facility with at-grade intersections, grade separations, and some of the first cloverleaf interchanges in the state. As originally planned by Carl Graeser, the highway featured a 9.1-meter (30-foot) median. However, as a cost-cutting measure, the medians were built along only certain parts of the original corridor. Therefore, some sections of Lilac Way that appear to have been built with different cross-sections actually date from the same period.
Since Lilac Way’s original construction, this project segment of TH 100 has undergone a number of changes prompted by the need for safety and changes in standards (see Draft EIS for a detailed list). Alterations to the proposed historic district since the original construction are non contributing features. However, despite these actions, the TH 100 roadway in the project area generally conforms to the historic alignment and retains the basic four-lane configuration of the original design. Original service roads also survive essentially intact.
126.96.36.199 Historic Landscaping and Green Spaces
Section 188.8.131.52 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference.
This section contains a description of the historic landscape and green spaces, which are contributing elements of the Lilac Way Historic District. The following summarizes the findings discussed in the Draft EIS.
In the late 1930s, the Department of Highways maintained a Roadside Improvement Division whose principal objective was to increase the recreational qualities and public enjoyment of the state’s highways. Federal legislation in 1937 required that at least one percent of federal allotments for trunk roads be used for roadside improvements. In Minnesota, WPA-funded projects included sodding/planting operations, creating waysides and stone masonry overlooks, improving natural springs along roadways for public use, and erecting historical markers. Design work was completed by the Minnesota Central Design Office of the National Park Service, with Arthur Nichols as the consulting landscape architect for the Lilac Way project. Nichols ranks among the state’s most important landscape architects ofthe first half ofthe twentieth century.
The area now within the Lilac Way Historic District epitomized this roadside improvement campaign. The project was unique in the state’s trunk highway system, as flowers or flowering shrubs typically were not planted on roadsides; preference was given to native vegetation. The landscaping that gave Lilac Way its distinctive scenic qualities remains largely intact and continues to represent the original layout and naturalistic theme. Lilac bushes were laid out irregularly, separated by open space and set out against a backdrop of evergreens, elms, other trees, and grassy slopes to fit the planting to the natural topography. The completed work included more than 7,000 bushes of 12 varieties of lilacs and thousands of other shrubs, vines, and trees. Along the entire route, trees as large as 0.20 meters (eight inches) in diameter were moved as far as 3.2 kilometers (two miles) and replanted by the roadside. 1n the Draft EIS, Figures 5-1 through 5-4 show the general location‘ of lilac plantings within the Lilac Way Historic District.
Section 184.108.40.206 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference. This section contains a description of the bridges, which are contributing elements, of the Lilac Way Historic District. The following summarizes the findings discussed in the Draft EIS. The project area contains 17 vehicular and railroad bridges and one culvert. Eight of the bridges are older than 50 years and seven of them are within the boundaries of the Lilac Way Historic District. Four have not had substantial improvements and are considered contributing historic resources.
- Bridge No. 5642 (1936) is a 6.8-meter (22.3-foot) reinforced concrete box culvert with two spans. The culvert carries TH 100 over Bassett Creek in Golden Valley.
- Bridge No. 5876 (1940) is a 28.7—meter (94.1-foot) two-span concrete rigid frame bridge carrying 42nd Avenue over TH 100 in Crystal.
- Bridge No. 5523 (1940) is a 29.7-meter (97.5-foot) steel deck girder bridge with two spans. It carries the Burlington Northern Railroad over TH 100 in Robbinsdale.
- Bridge No. 5885 (1940) is a 45.4-meter (149-foot) four-span concrete deck girder bridge that carries West Broadway over TH 100 in Robbinsdale.
These bridges and the other non-contributing ones are described in greater detail in the Draft EIS.
220.127.116.11 Service Roads
Section 18.104.22.168 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference. This section contains a description of the service roads, that are a contributing elements of the Lilac Way Historic District. The following summarizes the findings discussed in the Draft EIS.
The original service roads built as part of the Lilac Way project survive essentially intact. These parallel service drives provide frontage for residential, commercial, and office properties that face the TH 100 facility while separating property access from the TH 100 mainline. A number of “right-in, right-out,” at-grade access points connect the service roads with TH 100. At the time TH 100 was built, these service roads were designed for safety purposes.
22.214.171.124 TH 55 Cloverleaf
Section 126.96.36.199 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference. Section 188.8.131.52 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference. This section contains a description of the cloverleaf, which is a contributing element of the Lilac Way Historic District. The following summarizes the findings discussed in the Draft EIS.
Completed in the late 1940s, the TH 55 cloverleaf was the second modern grade-separated interchange built in Minnesota. The TH 55 cloverleaf was preceded only by a similar cloverleaf (which no longer exists) at the intersection of Superior Boulevard (TH 12, currently I-394) and TH 100, just south of the project area. At the time it was constructed, the TH 55 cloverleaf was considered an innovative, state-of-the-art facility for conveying vehicles through a busy crossing. Improvements were made to the cloverleaf between 1966 and 1968, including realignment of the original cloverleaf ramps and pavement widening at the bridge approaches. The TH 100 bridge over TH 55 itself was altered in 1969.
The TH 55 cloverleaf does not meet current safety standards. The tight interchange loops provide for 32 kilometer-per-hour (20 mile-per-hour) design speeds. Current standards specify that interchange loops accommodate design speeds of 40 to 48 kilometers-per-hour (25 to 30 miles-per hour).
184.108.40.206 Graeser Park
Section 220.127.116.11 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference. This section contains a description of Graeser Park, which is a contributing element of the Lilac Way Historic District. The following summarizes the findings discussed in the Draft EIS.
Of two original wayside parks in the historic district, Graeser Park is the largest and most intact. Figures 5-6 and 5-7 in the Draft EIS show the original planned design for the area and some representative photographs of the park itself. Graeser Park is located in the southwest quadrant of the TH 100/CSAH 81 intersection and is entirely within Mn/DOT right-of-way. West Broadway runs along the southwestern boundary, and Lakeland Avenue forms the western border and provides automobile access.
The park was dedicated in 1939 and reflects the naturalistic landscaping and rustic architecture that characterized waysides and parks constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Graeser Park consists of well-crafted limestone features buffered from surrounding roadways by grassy areas and mature vegetation. The park illustrates the design concepts of the landscape architect Arthur Nichols, while also representing the work of the state’s WPA craftsmen, who often used native stone to fashion park buildings and other structures. The structures and the great majority of plantings are primarily clustered at the west and southwest sides of the present grounds. The park was originally planned to be about 2.4 hectares (six acres) in size; structures and vegetation were clustered to leave space to the east for construction of a cloverleaf interchange, which was never built. After reconstruction of a roadway ramp in 1984, an area of grassy open space became contiguous to the northeast corner of the original park; the total area of original parkland and contiguous open space is about 3.97 hectares (9.8 acres). This new open space is not a contributing element of the park.
Although the grounds are suffering from neglect, Graeser Park today clearly reflects the original design and is essentially intact (Dombrowsky 1988). Structures retain their basic integrity of design and materials. The surrounding vegetation reflects the original planting scheme. While elm trees have been lost to Dutch Elm disease and replaced by other species not included in the original plan, numerous original evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs exist (Dombrowsky 1988). Parking for several cars is available on Scott Avenue (above the arched wall).
18.104.22.168 Blazer Park
Section 22.214.171.124 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference. This section contains a description of Blazer Park, which is a contributing element of the Lilac Way Historic District. The following summarizes the findings discussed in the Draft EIS.
Blazer Park is approximately 1.13 hectares (2.8 acres) in size and is located west of TH 100 between Glenwood Avenue and TH 55. The park is bordered by TH 100 on the north and east sides, Lilac Drive on the south, and Turners Crossroad on the west. Driveways enter the park from Lilac Drive and Turners Crossroad, meeting in an asphalt parking loop. Blazer Park, which dates from the 1930s and is part of the original construction of TH 100, contains Works Progress Administration (WPA) limestone amenities. Mature evergreen trees and lilac shrubbery are located along the drives and in the verges. See Figure 5-10 in the Draft EIS for photographs illustrating some views of the park.
Although Blazer Park is less elaborately designed and less intact than Graeser Park in Robbinsdale, it retains a number of key design elements. Major changes included the closing of the main entrance from TH 100 in 1968 and the loss of what was possibly a council ring. A picnic table and bench near the south side of the park have collapsed, although the other existing stone structures are in generally good condition. The vegetation continues to reflect the original landscape design, which had a naturalistic layout that offered shade to visitors and buffered the picnic areas from the surrounding streets. The park reflects the design concepts of the landscape architect Arthur Nichols, while also representing the work of the state’s WPA craftsmen, who often used native stone to fashion park buildings and other structures.
The park has been neglected and receives minimal use because it does not provide specific recreational facilities. According to Golden Valley’s Park Superintendent, Blazer Park is, in fact, a source of resident complaints because of its condition.
5.1.2 Robbinsdale Historic District
Section 5.2 of the Draft EIS is incorporated by reference. The following summarizes the findings discussed in the Draft EIS.
The proposed Robbinsdale Historic District includes the 4200 and 4300 blocks of West Broadway and the 4200 block of Lakeland Avenue in Robbinsdale. The map on Figure S-4 in the Draft EIS shows the limits of the proposed Robbinsdale Historic District. The proposed Robbinsdale Historic District consists of Bi contributing and 10 non-contributing buildings, ranking among the finest remaining collections of early-twentieth-century houses in the northwestern suburbs of Minneapolis. The Minnesota Department of Transportation, with concurrence from the SI-IPO, has determined that there will be no physical or visual impacts to the district as a result of the TH 100 reconstruction.
5.2 Assessment of Effects
The Minnesota Department of Transportation, as the designee of the Federal Highway Administration, determined that the project will have an adverse effect on the Lilac Way Historic District. SI-IPO concurred with that finding in a letter dated November 27, 1995. Notification of the adverse effect determination to the Lilac Way Historic District was sent by FHWA to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Appropriate mitigation was agreed upon by all parties (see Section 5.3).
5.2.1 Effects to the Roadway
The proposed TH 100 reconstruction project’s purpose, need, and Preferred Alternative are discussed in greater detail in Sections 1 and 2 of the Final EIS and are summarized below:
The Preferred Alternative would reconstruct TH 100 to freeway standards from Glenwood Avenue to 50th Avenue North. The Preferred Alternative mainline would provide a six-lane, access controlled freeway south of CSAH 81 and a four-lane, access-controlled freeway north of CSAH 81. In Segment 1, Alternative 18, a single-point diamond would be constructed at TH 55. In Segment 2 using Alternative 2A, a standard diamond would be constructed at 36th Avenue. In Segment 3 using Combined Alternative 3A-3D, loops, ramps, and an east-side frontage road connection would be incorporated between 42nd Avenue and CSAH 81. In Segment 4 using Alternative 4E, a standard diamond would be constructed at France Avenue.
At Indiana Avenue, to provide access to a neighborhood cut off by TH 100, access would be provided by extending 46th Avenue across the Ryan Creek channel.
The Preferred Alternative would upgrade TH 100 to a freeway from an expressway facility, having various adverse effects to the roadway. The project would require conformity to certain standards of design (e.g., elimination of at-grade intersections) that would require changes to the roadway itself. (Impacts on bridges, landscaping, parks, etc., are discussed in subsequent sections.) Impacts on the roadway component of the Lilac Way Historic District would include alteration of existing roadway design to current design standards, and conversion of paved areas to open space (or vice versa) in the following actions:
- Closing of numerous right-in/right-out access points;
- Realignment of curves and other minor alignment changes; –
- Widening of the mainline to six lanes between Glenwood Avenue and CSAH 81′,
- Reconstructing the TH 55 interchange (see Section 5.2.5 below); –
- Constructing the 36th Avenue interchange (eliminating the at-grade intersection); and, –
- Reconstructing the 42nd Avenue interchange and constructing the CSAH 81 interchange and frontage road connection; eliminating the CSAH 81 at-grade intersection.
It should be recognized that reconstruction of non-contributing elements does not constitute an adverse impact on the proposed historic district.
Temporary adverse construction impacts would include dust, equipment noise, vibrations, and visual impacts.
There are no practicable alternatives to the Preferred Alternative that avoid impacts on the roadway component of the Lilac Way Historic District. The No-Build Alternative does not fulfill the objectives of the project and is not considered practicable. Keeping the TH 100 facility in its existing condition would retain its deficiencies and hasten its deterioration, preventing it from serving its role in the highway network.
During the scoping process and the Draft EIS process, other interchange and mainline designs were considered. These designs generally were not reasonable, and would be expected to have comparable impacts on the historic roadway component of the Lilac Way Historic District. Mitigation for this project would be in accordance with the Programmatic Agreement as described below in Section 5.3.
In essence, the only way that TH 100 could be reconstructed in a manner that would fulfill the needs of the project while also avoiding impact on the Lilac Way Historic District would be to provide a new facility on a new alignment that would bypass the existing corridor entirely. TH 100 is totally surrounded by fully-developed, inner-ring suburban development, so such a bypass of the facility would require right-of-way acquisition and relocation of residents and businesses on an enormous scale. The cost, socioeconomic impact, and possible environmental impact of such a realignment would not be prudent, feasible, or practicable in comparison to the impacts of the Preferred Alternative. (page 5-9)
5.2.2 Effects to the Landscaping and Green Spaces
The project’s purpose, need, and Preferred Alternative design are discussed in greater detail in Sections 1 and 2 of this Final EIS.
The Preferred Altemative is expected to create partial alterations or removals of landscaping and open space along the existing facility. Minor realignment of curves would affect landscaping as well. Reconstruction or new construction of interchanges at TH 55, 36th Avenue, 42nd Avenue, and CSAH 81 would affect vegetation in these areas. Temporary adverse construction impacts such as dust, equipment noise, vibrations, and visual impacts are expected as well.
There are no practicable alternatives to the Preferred Alternative that avoid impacts on the landscaping/green space component of the Lilac Way Historic District. See the previous discussion in Section 5.2.1 for elaboration on why there are no practicable avoidance alternatives.
5.2.3 Effects to Bridges
The proposed TH 100 reconstruction project’s purpose, need, and Preferred Alternative designs are discussed in greater detail in Sections 1 and 2 of this Final EIS.
Generally, the proposed action would affect the bridges on this project by necessitating their replacement to accommodate the new roadway design and current standards. For example, current state guidelines specify that clearances for new bridges above expressways and freeways be 5.0 meters (16 feet, 4 inches). The bridges at 42nd Avenue, Burlington Northern Railroad, West Broadway, and Canadian Pacific (Soo Line) Railroad all have clearance heights over TH lOO of 4.3 meters (14 feet) or less. The vertical profile of 42nd Avenue as it crosses TH 100 provides for only a 32 kilometer-per-hour (20 mile-per-hour) design speed.
All of the contributing and non-contributing bridges would require replacement to bring them up to current standards and to match the designs of the new facility. Temporary adverse construction impacts are anticipated from the Preferred Alternative. These include dust, equipment noise, vibrations, and visual impacts.
There are no practicable alternatives to the No-Build Alternative that avoid impacts on the bridges component of the Lilac Way Historic District. The No-Build Alternative generally would not affect the bridges in the project except for programmed bridge replacements, which seek to remedy safety and deterioration concerns on five of the structures in the study area. All other bridges would remain in their current configuration with only future maintenance performed on them. However, the No-Build Alternative does not fulfill the objectives of the project and is not considered practical. During the scoping process and Draft EIS process, other designs for mainlines and inter changes were considered throughout the project area. The impacts on bridges for these designs would be comparable to the impacts of the Preferred Alternative. Mitigation for this project would be in accordance with the Programmatic Agreement as described below in Section 5.3.
As noted previously, the only way that TH 100 could be reconstructed in a manner that would fulfill the needs of the project while also avoiding impacts on the Lilac Way Historic District would be to provide a new facility on a new alignment that would bypass the existing roadway corridor entirely. Re-routing TH 100 would have extensive socioeconomic impacts at an incredible expense and it would not be prudent, feasible, or practicable in comparison with impacts of the Preferred Alternative.
5.2.4 Effects to the Service Roads (Lilac Drive North, Welcome Avenue North, Winfield Avenue North)
The proposed TH 100 reconstruction project’s purpose, need, and proposed alternative designs are discussed in greater detail in Sections 1 and 2 of this Final EIS. The proposed action would require service roads to be reconfigured in some locations to accommodate the new design.
The Preferred Alternative would affect the service roads on this project in some places. Figures 2-2 to 2-5 in the Draft EIS show the concept layouts for this project and illustrate the disposition of service roads throughout the project area. After completion of the project, many service roads would remain in one form or another. However, the function, design, and location could change as access changes and right-of-way requirements warrant reconfiguration of service roads. In locations where the properties served by service roads would be acquired by the project, there could be some closings of the service roads by way of cul-de-sacs. In some locations, noise walls might be considered along service roads, and these would serve to visually separate the service road from the mainline of the TH. 100 facility. Many of these issues would not be resolved until the final design stage.
Temporary adverse construction impacts are anticipated with the Preferred Alternative. These include dust, equipment noise, vibrations, and visual impacts.
There are no practicable alternatives to the Preferred Alternative that would avoid impacts on the service roads component of the Lilac Way Historic District. The No-Build Alternative generally would not affect service roads but it does not fulfill the objectives of the project and is not considered practicable. During the scoping process and Draft EIS process, other designs for mainlines and interchanges were considered throughout the project area but were rejected. The impacts on service roads for these designs would be comparable to those of the Preferred Alternative. Mitigation for this project would be in accordance with the Programmatic Agreement as described below in Section 5.3.
As noted previously, the only way that TH 100 could be reconstructed in a manner that would fulfill the needs of the project while also avoiding impacts on the Lilac Way Historic District would be to provide a new facility that would bypass the existing roadway corridor entirely on a new alignment. Re-routing TH 100 would have extensive socioeconomic impacts at an incredible expense and it would not be prudent, feasible, or practicable in comparison with impacts of the Preferred Alternative.
5.2.5 Effects to the TH 55 Cloverleaf
The proposed TH 100 reconstruction project’s purpose, need, and Preferred Alternative are discussed in greater detail in Sections 1 and 2 of this Final EIS. At the TH 55 interchange specifically, the project would reconstruct the interchange into a single-point diamond interchange (Alternative 1B) under a six-lane TH 100 mainline bridge. in the vicinity of TH 55, the mainline would be realigned slightly to the east to flatten a curve. A new cloverleaf design was not considered practicable because the right-of-way requirements needed to construct a cloverleaf at current design speeds would have a substantial impact on a large number of residences proximate to the interchange ramps.
The construction of the new interchange would be considered an adverse effect to the TH 55 cloverleaf component of the Lilac Way Historic District. It would entail a partial alteration or removal of ramps, loops, and roadside landscaping within the cloverleaf. The new interchange would have a longer bridge over TH 55 and retaining walls. Temporary adverse construction impacts would include dust, equipment noise, vibrations, and visual impacts.
There are no practicable alternatives that avoid impacts on the TH 55 cloverleaf component of the Lilac Way Historic District. The No-Build Alternative would not affect the TH 55 cloverleaf. However, the No-Build Alternative does not fulfill the objectives of the project and is not considered practicable. The standard diamond alternative (Alternative 1A) evaluated in the Draft EIS would have impacts comparable to those of the Preferred Alternative and would not avoid adverse impacts. Another design considered during the scoping process was a “partial cloverleaf‘ design that contained loops only in the northeast and southwest quadrants of the interchange. This design was rejected for study in the EIS due to extreme right-of-way and relocation impacts. A fill] cloverleaf built to current design standards was not studied at all for the same reason.
As noted previously, the only way that TH 100 could be reconstructed in a manner that would fulfill the needs of the project while also avoiding impacts on the Lilac Way Historic District would be to provide a new facility that would bypass the existing roadway corridor entirely. Re-routing TH 100 would have extensive socioeconomic impacts at an incredible expense and it would not be prudent, feasible, or practicable in comparison with the impacts of the Preferred Alternative.
5.2.6 Effects to Graeser Park
The Preferred Alternative (Combined Alternative 3A-3 D) would directly affect Graeser Park by building a ramp through open space using existing TH 100 right-of-way. About 1.38 hectares (3.4 acres) of the combined Graeser Park/open space would be used. Please refer to Sections 1.0 and 2.0 of this Final EIS for a description of the purpose and need for the project and the interchange design.
The Preferred Alternative for the CSAH 81 and 42nd Avenue interchanges is Combined Alternative 3A-3D with the Six-Lane/Four-Lane Mainline Alternative. On the west side of TH 100 where Graeser Park is located, the impacts would be identical to those of Alternative 3A as evaluated in the Draft EIS.
The on-ramp from southeast-bound CSAH 81 to southbound TH 100 would sever open space contiguous to the park. The total remaining parkland/open space would be about 259 hectares (6.4 acres). The Preferred Alternative would not require the removal ofthe stone fixtures at Graeser Park. All construction would occur on open space. Access to Graeser Park currently is not provided from TH 100 or CSAH 81 but rather by local streets, and all existing access would be maintained.
Interchange construction would adversely affect the visual roadside landscape. However, Graeser Park has always existed as part of the TH 100 environment, and in fact, the original l940s-era plans for a cloverleaf interchange at CSAH 81 would likely have had a much larger impact on the park than would the ramp proposed for this quadrant. (Figure 5-6 in the Draft EIS shows the plan for this cloverleaf from 1946). In addition, the ramp was realigned in 1984, and an area of grassy open space became contiguous northeast of the original park, buffering the park somewhat from highway traffic and increasing the usable space.
Considering the park’s relatively neglected current state, the net impact on the park itself could be positive, since it is anticipated that the property would be turned over to the City of Robbinsdale, which would likely maintain the park more actively than it has been maintained in the past.
Noise levels would increase as compared to the No-Build Alternative, although noise levels at the park are very high already. In addition, noise levels are expected to increase over time as traffic volumes increase, irrespective of the project. Air quality at the park would be expected to improve as compared to the No-Build Alternative because the at-grade intersection with CSAH 81 would be eliminated, resulting in less delay and fewer idling vehicles.
Temporary adverse construction impacts are anticipated with all build alternatives. These include dust, equipment noise, vibrations, and visual impacts.
A total of 12 additional build alternatives were considered during scoping and in the Draft EIS but were not selected because of various shortcomings that rendered them unreasonable, such as inadequate weaving distances, poor operations, and increased impact on Graeser Park. Several alternatives considered specifically avoided the southwest quadrant of the intersection (closest to Graeser Park) altogether, but they suffered from poor traffic operations because they could not accommodate the heavy movement of traffic in the morning peak hour from southeast-bound CSAH 81 to southbound TH 100. Mitigation for this project would be in accordance with the Programmatic Agreement as described below in Section 5.3.
5.2.7 Effects to Blazer Park
Blazer Park is entirely within existing TH 100 right-of-way. The proposed TH 100 project would directly affect Blazer Park by using 0.24 hectares (0.6 acres) of existing right-of-way for the Preferred Alternative. Please refer to Section 1.0 of this Final EIS for a description of the purpose and need for the project. Consult Figure 5-12 in the Draft EIS for an aerial display of Blazer Park and the TH 100 construction limits.
Blazer Park would be affected by the Preferred Six-Lane/Four-Lane Alternative. However, realignment of TH 100 to the east in this area to flatten a curve actually would result in a smaller impact than if a four-lane cross-section had been selected, as described in the Draft EIS. The Preferred Alternative affects about 0.24 hectares (0.6 acres), leaving approximately 0.89 hectares (2.2 acres) of park area. One of the two stone pillars (the one without a flagpole) may have to be temporarily moved to accommodate construction activities. It could be replaced after construction was completed. Access to and from the site would remain unchanged after construction.
The park has always been associated with and afi‘ected by the highway environment. Noise levels already are high due to the proximity of TH 100. Future levels are expected to increase slightly over No-Build Alternative levels; see Section 4.2 of the Draft EIS. The park is not near a location where vehicles would be idling, so existing levels of vehicular emissions would not likely change appreciably, and air quality at Blazer Park would still be well within state and federal standards. Adverse temporary construction impacts would include dust, equipment noise, vibrations, and visual impacts.
The project would have positive and negative visual impacts upon users of the park. TH 100 is already a prominent feature, and the park has deteriorated from its original condition. The project would increase the highway’s prominence. Vegetation would be removed as construction proceeded and then replaced with a landscape designed to enhance the visual quality for park users, neighbors, and TH 100 travelers. However, the net impact on the park itself could be positive, since it is not currently maintained to a level desirable for public use.
It should be noted that the selected preferred mainline would reduce right-of-way impacts on Blazer Park over the Four-Lane Alternative that was not selected. The rejected diamond interchange at TH 55 would have had impacts comparable to the preferred single-point design. Another TH 55 interchange alternative rejected (during scoping) would have put a loop and ramp in the southwest quadrant of the interchange, affecting a large number of residences; this alternative would likely affect Blazer Park as much (if not more) than would the preferred single-point interchange under study. Mitigation for this project would be in accordance with the Programmatic Agreement as described below in Section 5.3.
As noted previously, the only way that TH 100 could be reconstructed in a manner that would fulfill the needs of the project while also avoiding impacts on the Lilac Way Historic District would be to provide a new facility on a new alignment that would bypass the existing roadway corridor entirely. Re-routing TH 100 would have extensive socioeconomic impacts at an incredible expense and it would not be prudent, feasible, or practicable in comparison with the impacts of the Preferred Alternative.