The City Engineers Association of Minnesota (CEAM) recognized the City of Prior Lake’s CSAH 21 Downtown Improvement project as a 2020 Project of the Year Honorable Mention. This award is given to outstanding engineering projects that have contributed to Minnesota’s quality of life. An intense public engagement and communication process transformed this project from one the community was opposed to, into one the community did not just accept but was excited about.
The TH 13/CSAH 21 intersection and CSAH 21 corridor in downtown Prior Lake lacked the capacity to move traffic safely and efficiently. It had been studied multiple times over the last two decades without identifying a solution supported by all stakeholders.
While a recommended plan was adopted by the board of commissioners in 2005, significant concerns were raised and major conflicts existed between access and mobility, roadway classification, and community needs. Meanwhile, the corridors remained a barrier in downtown.
Recognizing this history, Bolton & Menk led an innovative and comprehensive public engagement effort using various outreach formats. Our work included a visioning study, the goals of which were to engage the public, build trust between governing agencies and the public, and develop a solution that could be supported by stakeholders. The visioning study was used to level the playing field, start over, and identify important community values.
After several months of identifying and evaluating concepts and engaging the public, a single vision was recommended and adopted. The CSAH 21 Downtown Improvement project moved through final design and was constructed in 2020.