Snelling median construction delayed into the fall

By Matea Wasend

Snelling Avenue is not as easy to cross as High Winds Fund director Tom Welna hoped it would be by now. A median that would split the four-lane highway from Grand Avenue to St. Clair Avenue was slated for installation in mid-May of this year. But Welna, who has been supervising the project for about five years now with the High Winds Fund, Macalester’s neighborhood development and investment group, said minor bureaucratic delays pushed the start date back to June.

And then July, and then September.

“It’s like a really long labor,” Welna said. “I know it’s going to happen. It will be great when it’s all done and starts to grow.”

The St. Paul City Council approved the $1.2 million median after nearly four years of planning in September of last year. Welna and others involved said they hoped the median would slow down traffic and provide both students and neighbors with easier access to Macalester from east of campus.

But getting the project off the ground proved complicated. There were about a dozen detail revisions to work out, plus funding hoops to jump through, since Macalester, the state and the federal government are all paying for the median.

It wasn’t until Wednesday that the St. Paul Department of Public Works opened the bid to contractors, and Welna estimated that it could take up to two weeks for the contract to go through. That means construction will start in late September-if everything goes as planned.

“It’ll definitely be in and all grown up at your five year reunion,” Welna joked.