The city is taking steps to alleviate the anticipated increase in traffic around the Crocker/Bassett exit as Crocker Park starts in on plans to double in size.
The project will add a lane to the west offramp of Interstate 90 onto Crocker Road, split the bypass at Crocker and Clemens roads and add a northbound turn lane at Detroit and Crocker roads. The plan is to alleviate congestion from about 2,000 more commuters going to the new American Greetings office building as well as traffic from shoppers and residents.
City Engineer Bob Kelly said the project would be completed in 2013 at the latest.
“There’s a chance, and we’re shooting to get it approved by the state this year,” he said.
Kelly is expecting a March to October construction season for the project.
“We really don’t want it to sit over the winter,” he said.
Traffic now is heavy around the area, particularly during rush hour.
"If I want to go north on Crocker, I have a long wait," said Fred Jarosz, a nearby Wyndgate Court resident. "It’s not easy and these traffic gaps don’t seem to work out."
Jarosz noted that there is also a lot of traffic in the area from Interstate 480 and Stearns Road.
City officials have been eyeing the plan for some time now, and this particular plan was rejected by the city planning commission 3 to 2 earlier this year. City Council overturned the decision, and Mayor Dennis Clough also showed his approval.
“I support moving forward with this,” he said.
Neighboring residents have expressed concerns about parking as well, but city officials are confident that there will be enough room.
“If all these buildings are built to their maximum, the data does show that there would be adequate parking if that was really needed,” said Planning and Development Director Bob Parry. “There is adequate parking if all that development were to occur.”