This roadway in Independence, MN was particularly difficult to make left-hand turns from Trunk Highway (Hwy) 12 and County Road (CR) 92, leading to driver frustration and risk taking. Fatal crashes along the corridor gave rise to Minnesota's Highway 12 Safety Coalition that secured state bond and federal aid funding to develop major safety and mobility improvements.
KLJ led traffic analysis, alternatives analysis, and an extensive public engagement process. The project’s first open house had more than 100 attendees, and an online survey of alternatives that was shared through Facebook advertisement received nearly 2,000 responses. KLJ also produced a video highlighting the proposed improvements to gain public and stakeholder support. Public involvement resulted in a challenging alternative selection process with strong and sometimes conflicting positions taken by various stakeholders. KLJ used ConceptStation during agency meetings to develop, present, and analyze many alternatives and sub-alternatives quickly and effectively. Ultimately, a grade separation of CSAH 92 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) track was selected with a hybrid roundabout providing access to CSAH 92.
The new crossing included significant infrastructure within the railroad ROW; KLJ promptly sought and achieved initial project approval and a Preliminary Engineering Agreement from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF). Ongoing coordination allowed for bridge pier placement within BNSF right-of-way (ROW) to significantly reduce bridge costs and project impacts. After achieving consensus on the preferred alternative to improve safety and mobility on TH 12 and CSAH 92, KLJ completed environmental documentation and preliminary and final design. Additionally, KLJ used drone survey to efficiently collect needed data. The $15 million project was completed in 2022. This project was recognized with a 2022 Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota (ACEC/MN).