Highway 169 construction brings detour problems to Edina, Hopkins

Several drivers woke up to unpleasant traffic Monday as the Highway 169 construction project began.

“I woke up in the morning because I heard lots of things, and I had to look out my window,” said 7-year-old Dylan of Edina, Minnesota.

Dylan isn't the only one having to get used to the sudden sound of traffic in his otherwise quiet area.

“At 5:10 this morning there was a semi that came through here,” said Jerry Molitor, a resident in the area. “It's 50 times what it is normally.”

The number of drivers squirreling their way through the Parkwood Knolls neighborhood because of the 169 closure is even worse than Molitor imagined. At the corner of Parkwood Road and Parkwood Lane, one homeowner has already had problems with drivers cutting through her circle driveway.              

“There's no sidewalks here, there's lots of kids coming off the school buses before it's light,” Molitor said. “They need cement barriers they use when there are construction workers to keep these kids safe. This is not an acceptable situation.”

As previously planned, Hopkins police and Edina police have added extra patrols to the areas between Bren Road and Lincoln Drive where drivers are trying to find their way around the portion of 169 that is closed in both directions through October. Edina also brought a radar trailer out of storage to monitor speeds, with plans to move it daily. A mobile camera unit will be moved frequently as well.

Sgt. Kevin Rofidal said more than a dozen tickets were handed out before the afternoon commute to drivers often speeding or rolling through stop signs. By the end of the day Edina police say 23 tickets were issued.

“Right now we can't plow if we put down speed bumps or traffic cords,” says Rofidal. “Our experience has been when you have a project like this, the worst part is the first two weeks. After that, a good number of people will find other ways - car pooling - but that first two weeks is an adjustment.”

Sgt. Rofidal said other adjustments may come in the future such as adding stop signs. Meanwhile, parents at a bus stop at the corner of Parkwood Road and Parkwood Lane said they are not letting their children cross the street alone.

“We knew this day was going to come,” said Sgt. Rofidal. “The reality is for 10 months, it's going to be tough.”