Burnsville mayor vows to make ‘dangerous’ intersection safer after multiple pedestrians killed

Days after yet another pedestrian is killed crossing a busy Burnsville intersection, the city's mayor says she's had enough.

The corner of Highway 13 and Nicollet Avenue has been a problem for years. There were more than 100 crashes between 2016 and 2020, and that is far too many for Burnsville’s mayor.

For more than two decades, Burnsville’s top city official has been fighting to make the stretch of state highway safer.

"It is a dangerous highway," Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said. "Highway 13 has something like 36,000 cars a day, and then, it also has a lot of truck traffic because it is a commercial corridor."

It's an intersection people like Itiolair Gates walk across daily as they catch the bus to St. Paul or Minneapolis.

"There isn't really a way to get by on the other side without another crosswalk. Another crosswalk would be better. And with all the cars making the right turns, it's kind of dangerous," Gates said.

Since June 2022, two pedestrians were killed and another was seriously hurt. The most recent crash was this week.

The Minnesota State Patrol says the road was wet on Monday when 39-year-old Jacob John Witt from Burnsville walked north. He was hit and killed by a truck headed westbound on Highway 13.

FOX 9 spoke with Witt’s stepfather, who said Witt didn’t drive so he likely would have been crossing the intersection after using public transportation. Witt grew up in Illinois and he was loved. His family is asking for privacy at this time.

"For me, it's personal. It is my community. It is the crashes that occur there. But it's also the lives that are taken in that intersection," Kautz said.

There are plans to build a divided highway with a pedestrian bridge component with a total price tag of $44 million.

Kautz said the Transportation Advisory Board approved $10 million. The county has pledged $1.6 million and the city is pledging $1 million. Congresswoman Angie Craig also appropriated $3 million, and that money still has to go through Congress. 

She said construction will hopefully start by 2027 and vowed to see the project through.

"I won't stop. I won't stop doing what is necessary to keep the people of Burnsville safe," Kautz said.