Arden Hills council discusses changes to dangerous intersection

Community members and city leaders in Arden Hills are demanding change at a busy intersection that's proven deadly more than once.

Some are calling on Ramsey County to make immediate changes at the Highway 96 and Old Highway 10 intersection. Just last week, a toddler was killed there after a crash involving a school bus. A few years earlier, two high schoolers also died there.

Some people argue three young lives lost in one intersection over a handful of years is way too much. They want immediate safety fixes at that Arden Hills intersection with an online petition demanding action nearing 2,000 signatures.

"The worst kind of accident, other than a head-on, is a T-bone," said Mayor David Grant. "And that’s what is happening at that intersection and people are dying."

Mayor Grant is lending his voice to the debate over safety at the Highway 96 and Old Highway 10 intersection, not far from Mounds View High School and interstates 35-W and 694. It’s the scene of two deadly crashes since 2016 including one just last week in which a toddler was killed in a frightening collision between a school bus and family pick-up truck.

"I have two young children who would attend Mounds View High School," said Megan Schletty. "The thought of that intersection and them having to travel through that terrifying intersection daily, really scares me."

"This is a sad event," said Ramsey County Public Works Director Brian Isaacson. "No one designs things for this to be the outcome."

On Monday night, Ramsey County’s public works director and a traffic engineer briefed city leaders on potential safety fixes for the intersection. One immediate change made at the county operated-intersection is the flashing yellow light for westbound 96 traffic attempting to turn left onto Old Highway 10 in the direction of the high school is suspended between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

The changes are not enough for some on the council who believe flashing yellow turn signals are no good for a busy area that draws lots of young, inexperienced drivers.

"There are a lot of other events at that school that go well into the night and parents pick up their kids," said Councilmember Brenda Holden. "It’s not just 8 p.m. and shut off for a football game. There’s all kinds of activities."