Not much changed on the Vikings stadium front, other than perhaps the occasional striking of a whetstone as the long knives are sharpened. So while we wait for the next act, a word about infrastructure.
One of the primary concerns about building a stadium in Arden Hills is the question of "infrastructure." I live about 5 miles from the proposed site and there is no question that it is lacking in amenities. I would assume that the main entrance would be built on the stretch of U.S. Highway 10 between its merge point with 35W (to the north) and the godawful intersection of Highway 10 and Ramsey County Highway 96. For those not familiar with the area, Highway 96 bisects Arden Hills and is the border between the sleepy suburban enclave that Arden Hills is today and the vast expanse of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant. Hwy. 96 is a 4-lane divided highway and carries a lot of traffic throughout the day, mostly toward the neighboring communities of Shoreview, Vadnais Heights and tony North Oaks.
At this time, the intersection of Hwys. 10 and 96 is controlled with a traffic light. This has been a cause for massive bottlenecks for years. I have personally sat waiting at the corner many times. While this intersection is not really on MnDOT's radar screen, mostly because Hwy. 96 is not a state road, changing the configuration of the intersection has been a priority for everyone in the area for a long time. I have no doubt that the intersection would be addressed quickly if the stadium proposal moves forward.
There's no way to say this other than directly -- for the citizens of our area, the Vikings stadium would be a godsend, but not because of the amenity itself. What we want is someone to fix the traffic tangles. MnDOT has already started preliminary work on the notorious 35W/694 interchange and the awful stretch of 694 east of 35W, where it tangles with U.S. 10 and busy Snelling Avenue and all eastbound traffic gets shoehorned into one lane. It's not clear if these projects are part of the numbers that we're hearing concerning infrastructure, but these projects were already in the works, so it seems disingenuous to pretend that these costs are part of the stadium bill, as some interested parties (cough Minneapolis cough) are doing.
Of course, that points to the larger, eternal problem. You won't hear any number from anyone that reflects what the actual cost of this project will be. The Vikings have a number in mind, but that number is the ceiling of what they are willing to contribute to the project. Everyone else, from Ramsey County to the state, will be on the hook for the rest. And we'll talk about that anon.