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Currently the River-to-River Greenway Trail exists through West St. Paul, though in places it’s reduced to a sidewalk.
One key hurdle is crossing Robert Street—construction for a tunnel under Robert Street will begin in July 2020.
Tell Me More:
- Construction impact: Preliminary plans call for reducing Robert Street to one lane in each direction between Thompson and Wentworth from July to October. (So why didn’t we do this during the Robert Street project? Mainly because of opposition to the Robert Street project in general and any additional costs.)
- Where will the tunnel be located? The tunnel will cross Robert Street at Crawford Drive on the east and the old Blockbuster site on the west. (Crawford Drive will actually be moved north to accommodate the tunnel.)
- Where will the trail go?
- To the east of Robert Street, the trail will then cross Crawford Drive and continue through the former golf course property, the alignment to be determined based on pending development. It eventually connects to Thompson Park.
- To the west of Robert Street, the trail will eventually connect to trails running through Marthaler Park toward Garlough and Dodge Nature Center. The exact alignment is being determined—it could either follow Livingstone south to trails along Wentworth or cut straight west to Humboldt and cross Wentworth into Marthaler.
- Will a tunnel attract crime? No. Former Police Chief Bud Shaver in 2015: “I don’t suspect that it would be a spot where individuals would wait and lurk for victims of crimes. There’s no track record of that happening in tunnels in the area; that’s just a perception from TV.” (I’ve explored safety issues in more detail in the past.)
- What does this cost? The plans for this project have changed over the years, especially as it’s been tied to the HyVee project. But the short version is that West St. Paul is not paying for the tunnel—there’s $3 million in funding from federal, state, and county sources to pay for the tunnel.
There is an informational public meeting about the tunnel scheduled for November 7 at the Wentworth Library.