Lake Elmo Avenue and Minnesota 36 to get ‘significant safety improvement’ in 2027

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The last remaining stoplight on Minnesota Highway 36 between Stillwater and Century Avenue will be replaced with a $40 million grade-separated interchange with buttonhook-style ramps in 2027, officials announced this week.

More than 170 accidents have occurred at the intersection of 36 and Lake Elmo Avenue over the past 10 years, including a fatal crash in 2018. An average of 45,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day.

Construction will start in the spring of 2026, said Andrew Giesen, project manager for Washington County Public Works.

The new grade-separated interchange will improve safety, reduce congestion and improve bikeability and walkability in the area, Giesen said.

The project team includes Washington County, the city of Grant, the city of Lake Elmo and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Officials conducted an intersection study and evaluated more than 20 different possible interchanges, including at-grade and grade-separated options, Giesen said. The buttonhook-style ramps will provide full access to Minnesota 36 through frontage roads and dedicated acceleration and deacceleration lanes along the state highway, he said.

“It’s a significant safety improvement,” he said. “This design rose to the top because it’s the ‘right-fit’ design for the intersection. We achieve the project goals and minimize the overall project cost by minimizing the purchase of necessary private property and minimizing the overall project footprint.”

A rendering showing the design of a planned $40 million grade-separated interchange with buttonhook-style ramps that will be built at Minnesota Highway 36 and Lake Elmo Avenue. Officials unveiled the new design on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Courtesy of Washington County)

Drivers no longer will be able to turn directly from one road to the other. When the new alignment is in place, they’ll get access through frontage roads and dedicated acceleration and deacceleration lanes along the state highway.

Robert Bursik, 54, of Amery, Wis., died in February 2018 on Minnesota 36 after he was struck by a semitrailer that sped through a red light in Lake Elmo.

Officials say Samuel Hicks, 29, of Independence, Wis., was looking at his cellphone for eight seconds before he slammed into Bursik’s car at 63 mph while it was stopped at Lake Elmo Avenue.

EARLIER: Trucker who rear-ended car in Lake Elmo, killing driver, apologizes in new video

According to the criminal complaint, Hicks was texting with his girlfriend and using the Zillow real estate app to look up information about a house.

For more information about the road project, go to

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