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District 196 supports bonding request to fund Diffley Road improvements

The District 196 School Board unanimously approved a resolution supporting Dakota County’s request to include Diffley Road safety improvements in this year’s state bonding bill. The board took the vote during a special meeting April 6 that was conducted by videoconference and live streamed on the district’s YouTube channel.

Dakota County’s request is for $4.62 million to fund several proposed pedestrian and vehicle safety improvements on Diffley Road, Braddock Trail and the adjacent campuses of Northview Elementary School, Dakota Hills Middle School and Eagan High School. State leaders had been discussing the bonding bill prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it remains uncertain whether one will be approved this session.

Leaders from Dakota County, the City of Eagan and District 196 have been working together to identify possible safety improvements. Public meetings were held in December to get input on the full spectrum of possible improvements, which were developed and presented by engineers from Bolton & Menken. Another public meeting was held in February to get input on a narrowed list of possible improvements.

The improvements detailed in the county’s bonding bill request include:

  • Reconstruct Diffley from a four- to a two-lane road between Lexington Avenue to 2,000 feet east of Braddock Trail;
  • Install roundabouts on Diffley at the intersections of Daniel Drive and Braddock Trail;
  • Modify parking lot entrances/exits on Braddock Trail, and
  • Construct a new road from the north side of the Daniel Drive roundabout into the high school south parking lot.    

“I think this would be money well spent,” said Director of Finance and Operations Mark Stotts. “It’s a high-profile project and there’s been a lot of community involvement. Hopefully we can get the funding and follow through with the solution.” Without the state bonding dollars, he said the project would not be able to move forward. Stotts said citizens and staff will be contacting legislators to advocate for including the Diffley Road project in the state bonding bill. 

Board member Cory Johnson said he is impressed with the proposed solution and how it was shaped by public input throughout the process. “I’m really hoping this bonding request is successful because I feel they did a very good job to find a solution for our schools.”

Superintendent Mary Kreger thanked Northview Elementary School Principal Kerri Town, Dakota Hills Middle School

Principal Trevor Johnson and Eagan High School Principal Polly Reikowski for stepping up and working closely with the city and county to reach this point. “We really appreciate the collaboration with our city and county partners,” she said.