The city wanted the corridor to better serve the multiple modes of traffic that use it daily. The main focus was transitioning the corridor from one that primarily served vehicles to one that better serves all modes of transportation and makes the infrastructure more equitable for all users.
The existing one-way, eastbound corridor originally accommodated a contraflow, westbound bus lane. This lane was decommissioned, and the affected Metro Transit routes were rerouted to parallel streets. This allowed the new roadway cross-section to better accommodate wider and more accessible sidewalks and a dedicated, separated two-way cycle track.
Eastbound bus service was enhanced with a wider thru-lane along the southerly curb line, a pull off lane at higher volume transit stops, and accommodations for future transit priority signals. Additionally, signals were enhanced to best meet the needs of traffic in the highly congested corridor through the incorporation of dedicated bike signals, video detection for left turn lanes, blank-out signs, changeable message signs, accessible pedestrian signals, and fiber optic interconnection.
In 2022, the dam was removed and replaced with a rock-arch rapids by the City of Pine River. Replacing the high hazard dam with a rock riffle enhanced fish passage, biological connectivity, habitat, safety, aesthetics, fishing, and recreational access to the river. The riffle pools and channels enhanced recreational opportunities for wading, fishing, paddling, and other water-based activities.
This work restored fish passage and connectivity between the Whitefish Chain of Lakes and reconnected 134 lakes (11,338 acres) and 80 miles of river and stream corridors benefitting fish, mussels, and many game and non-game animal species. Water levels up and downstream from the rock arch rapids will be similar to levels that would have resulted from operation of the gated spillways of the dam; however, the hazard and flood risk due to potential breaching of the dam during a flood is greatly reduced.
The city sought a concept that would maintain the reservoir, preserve and increase recreational functions, and have lower capital and long-term maintenance costs.