PD waits while Nine Mound continues

Construction crews finished the new intersection at Northern Lights/Nine Mound and Cross Country Road over the winter, and road is being widened this spring.

The spring segment of the Nine Mound Road reconstruction continued over the weekend with a temporary closure of the road. But the planned realignment of the County Hwy. PD intersection continues to wait for land acquisition.

The city had previously aimed at a mid-April start of construction on PD – a separate piece of the overall Nine Mound Road project with its own timeline that will shift the intersection northward and reconstruct PD from Woods Road to Shady Oak Lane. But that hinged on purchasing right-of-way, which has not yet happened, city engineer Jeffrey Montpas reported in his twice-monthly digest for alders.

Montpas and city administrator Bill Burns told the Press this week the city is exploring the use of condemnation – better known as eminent domain – to ensure the $12 million project to improve the Epic-afflicted traffic goes through. But that process can often takes six months, they said in a series of emails to the Press. And Montpas said the PD project can’t begin until every piece of right-of-way is purchased.

“I don’t know yet if that means the intersection would not be completed this year, but that is a possibility,” Burns wrote. “If the full intersection reconstruction can’t be completed in 2016, we’d look at what we can do to improve conditions in conjunction with the work being done to expand Northern Lights/Nine Mound until the full intersection reconstruction is completed.”

Meanwhile, utility work started on the rest of Nine Mound in March after the city completed the shifting of the intersection with Cross Country Road slightly to the north over the winter.

That came complete with stoplights and changed the traffic flow to north and south, with a default of crossing Cross Country with a green light, rather than forcing those exiting to turn left onto Nine Mound at a stop sign. That also created a new entrance to what will presumably be Campus 6 at the light.

The city began work Monday on the PD intersection and third piece of this puzzle – a new intersection along PD to a completely new road entering the Epic campus from the north – with a $275,000 agreement with engineering firm AECOM to oversee those two projects.