Cliff Corridor Study

Study Overview - Cliff Road and Nicollet Avenue

Burnsville and Dakota County are working together to study transportation needs on Cliff Road and Nicollet Avenue. The team has identified solutions for Cliff Road at 35W, and is still working towards solutions along Cliff Road and Nicollet Avenue based upon technical analysis and public input. 


Study components include:

  • An analysis and preliminary design for Cliff Road and I-35W. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is developing plans to resurface I-35W from Cliff Road to I-35E, and replace bridges at Cliff Road, TH 13, and Burnsville Parkway (construction 2025-2026). As such, an analysis of Cliff Road under I-35W was conducted to determine a preferred section of roadway. An analysis and preliminary design on the I-35W northbound on- and off- ramps was also conducted.
  • An analysis and preliminary design for Cliff Road from I-35W to 12th Avenue South. A traffic analysis was conducted to review capacity and safety issues and develop alternatives for roadway sections, intersection improvements, and access spacing.
  • A multimodal evaluation of Cliff Road between I-35W and Highway 13. This evaluation determined infrastructure improvements to accommodate pedestrians and bikers along Cliff Road.
  • A multimodal evaluation of Nicollet Avenue between Highway 13 and Cliff Road. This evaluation determined infrastructure improvements to address the incomplete multimodal facilities on Nicollet Avenue.

Together these project goals will help develop safer transportation corridors for all users along Cliff Road and Nicollet Avenue.


Schedule Image

Cliff Road/I-35W Northbound On- and Off- Ramps Alternative Evaluation Report

This draft report summarizes local intersection alternatives and recommendations for the east side of the interchange at Cliff Road (CSAH 32) and I-35W. The review of this area was important to finish before MnDOT’s 2024 completion of final design for the 2025-2026 I-35W project.

Cliff Road Corridor Preliminary Engineering Study - draft

Public engagement

The project team conducted two pop up events in the summer of 2023. These events occurred at Cliff Fen Park and at the Burnsville Fire Muster event at Nicollet Commons. In all we spoke with more than 60 people at these events. An online survey was distributed via city channels and was sent to local businesses on the Cliff Road and Nicollet Avenue corridors and garnered more than 160 responses. 

Direct business engagement was also conducted. The project team knocked on doors of more than 120 businesses along Nicollet Avenue and Cliff Road. The team had conversations with business owners and invited business owners to attend a virtual stakeholder meeting. These stakeholder meetings had limited attendance, however the presentation from the meeting was distributed to all business owners/managers that we had contact information from.  

What we learned

We asked the public how they currently use Cliff Road and Nicollet Avenue and what safety and mobility barriers they face using different forms of transportation. 

From the engagement outreach, we gained the following insights:

  • While most people drive, many are interested in using other methods of transportation on Cliff Road and Nicollet Avenue, including walking and biking.
  • Roundabouts are generally supported as an option, for example at the I-35 eastern frontage road.
  • Respondents indicated a desire for safe crossing to Cliff Fen Park.