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City Asks Xcel to Pay for Improvements on Black Dog Road
Sept 2011 -


No matter the time of the year, Rachel Waldhoff of Burnsville can most likely be found during the weekend on Burnsville’s Black Dog Road.

“It’s so peaceful here, we come to watch the birds,” she said while standing on the closed Black Dog Road wood-frame bridge, which on that day provided a great view of hundreds of egrets spending time on Black Dog Lake.  

The area is popular for birders and anglers hoping for a catch. But due to structural issues and persistent flooding, the bridge was closed and vehicle access to the area is limited.

That’s all about to change. Burnsville could be the beneficiary of several improvements to public infrastructure paid for by Xcel Energy to enhance access to its Black Dog plant, as it undergoes a $600 million changeover from coal to combined-cycle power production.

Cause and effect
Find out what's happening in Burnsvillewith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The Black Dog Road West Bridge, as it is formally known, was built in 1956, but it is no longer safe for traffic. Currently, the only access to Black Dog Road is off Nichols Road in Eagan, but that portion of the road is also prone to flooding. Over the course of the past two years, the east access point was closed a total of 12 weeks due to high water.

The bridge closure may be an inconvenience for nature lovers like Waldhoff, but it’s a major logistics problem for Xcel: Trucks carrying ash from the plant are forced to use residential streets. As activity increases when plant construction begins, the company would like the Black Dog west access open.

The Burnsville City Council Sept. 20 adopted a resolution recommending construction of a new $588,000 concrete bridge to replace the old structure. Although the city is choosing the bridge design and specifications, the project won’t be moving through the normal approval channels. The city is in negotiations with the Xcel to pick up the tab for the improvements. Once finalized, plans will come again before the city council for approval, but the bid process has construction to begin in the winter of 2012. The proposed bridge will accommodate two-way traffic and a future pedestrian trail. Eventually, when the repowering project is complete, the west portion of Black Dog Road could be rehabilitated.

Relief from the rumble of heavy vehicles could also coming to the Burnsville and Eagan neighborhoods. At present, Xcel utilizes Black Dog Park and local residential streets to access the plant.

The council accepted a feasibility study and set a public hearing for Nov. 22 to review plans for a new $5.52 million year-round access created by extending 12th Avenue through Black Dog Park, which would redirect the plant's traffic away from more densely peopled neighborhoods. Negotiations have Xcel paying a portion of the extension.

 “I do believe the taxpayers of Burnsville have been extremely well-represented” through the process, City Councilmember Dan Kealey said.

He called the park one of the city’s “hidden assets” that will be uncovered, once access improves. “It’s going to be one of the most picturesque parks in the city when this is done.”

A copy of the report is available for viewing in the City of Burnsville Public Works and Engineering Department.

City Asks Xcel to Pay for Improvements on Black Dog Road

Sept 2011 -


No matter the time of the year, Rachel Waldhoff of Burnsville can most likely be found during the weekend on Burnsville’s Black Dog Road.

“It’s so peaceful here, we come to watch the birds,” she said while standing on the closed Black Dog Road wood-frame bridge, which on that day provided a great view of hundreds of egrets spending time on Black Dog Lake.

The area is popular for birders and anglers hoping for a catch. But due to structural issues and persistent flooding, the bridge was closed and vehicle access to the area is limited.

That’s all about to change. Burnsville could be the beneficiary of several improvements to public infrastructure paid for by Xcel Energy to enhance access to its Black Dog plant, as it undergoes a $600 million changeover from coal to combined-cycle power production.

Cause and effect
Find out what's happening in Burnsvillewith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The Black Dog Road West Bridge, as it is formally known, was built in 1956, but it is no longer safe for traffic. Currently, the only access to Black Dog Road is off Nichols Road in Eagan, but that portion of the road is also prone to flooding. Over the course of the past two years, the east access point was closed a total of 12 weeks due to high water.

The bridge closure may be an inconvenience for nature lovers like Waldhoff, but it’s a major logistics problem for Xcel: Trucks carrying ash from the plant are forced to use residential streets. As activity increases when plant construction begins, the company would like the Black Dog west access open.

The Burnsville City Council Sept. 20 adopted a resolution recommending construction of a new $588,000 concrete bridge to replace the old structure. Although the city is choosing the bridge design and specifications, the project won’t be moving through the normal approval channels. The city is in negotiations with the Xcel to pick up the tab for the improvements. Once finalized, plans will come again before the city council for approval, but the bid process has construction to begin in the winter of 2012. The proposed bridge will accommodate two-way traffic and a future pedestrian trail. Eventually, when the repowering project is complete, the west portion of Black Dog Road could be rehabilitated.

Relief from the rumble of heavy vehicles could also coming to the Burnsville and Eagan neighborhoods. At present, Xcel utilizes Black Dog Park and local residential streets to access the plant.

The council accepted a feasibility study and set a public hearing for Nov. 22 to review plans for a new $5.52 million year-round access created by extending 12th Avenue through Black Dog Park, which would redirect the plant's traffic away from more densely peopled neighborhoods. Negotiations have Xcel paying a portion of the extension.

“I do believe the taxpayers of Burnsville have been extremely well-represented” through the process, City Councilmember Dan Kealey said.

He called the park one of the city’s “hidden assets” that will be uncovered, once access improves. “It’s going to be one of the most picturesque parks in the city when this is done.”

A copy of the report is available for viewing in the City of Burnsville Public Works and Engineering Department.

1976_clipping_BU_Orchard_Gardens_Drawing.jpg 1980_BU_Bridge_of_35E.jpg 2011_Black_Dog_Bridge.jpg 2014_BU_Co_Rd_5_and_13_bridge_opening.jpg 2019_City_of_Burnsville_Street_signs.JPG
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