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Radio Road: 18 months and counting

Leaving behind bright markers, a state Department of Transportation survey crew last week checked the soil along Hwy. 35N by Radio Road where an overpass, box culvert and roundabouts will be built. Utilities were also marked off so buried cables and pipes wouldn't be hit. Phil Pfuehler photo

Early signs of a big road project for Hwy. 35N and Radio Road were evident last week as surveyors took soil borings need for the design of a bridge.

Department of Transportation Project Development Engineer Wendy Maves said last week's preliminary work was needed so that "accurate plans" can be made for the interchange to be built at that highway juncture.

"A bridge will be constructed to carry Radio Road over Hwy. 35," Maves said. "Three roundabouts will also be constructed. Two of them will be at the ends of the ramps of the interchange similar to what is at the Hanley Road interchange.

"The third roundabout will be at Radio Road with Paulson Road. As part of this project, Paulson Road will be extended (north) up to Radio Road."

Contract bidding on the $9-10 million Radio Road interchange work is expected to begin on March 12, 2013. Construction would begin in late spring.

Besides the highway interchange, roundabouts and Paulson Road extension, two box culverts will be needed. Square, concrete box culverts are fairly standard and used to handle large volumes of water.

"(They are) to accommodate the drainage in the area," Maves said. "There is a lot of water that drains from west of Radio Road, across Hwy. 35 and eventually into the Kinnickinnic River."

Paulson Road now dead ends in front of the River Falls Journal building on the city's north edge.

"Actually, property acquisition for the Paulson Road extension has not yet begun," Maves said. "We hope to have the acquisition started by the end of the year."

Another component of the Radio Road interchange project will be closing access to Hwy. 35 from Whitetail Blvd. This is the entry/exit that many drivers now use for the River Falls Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park.

On the opposite side, access to Hwy. 35 will also be closed at County Road U.

"This is all part of the freeway conversion project," Maves said.

The goal is to close off right-angle roadway access to Hwy. 35 so that it becomes better suited for uninterrupted high-speed freeway traffic.

The interchanges at Hanley and Radio roads are part of the freeway evolution for Hwy. 35.