by Peter Bodley
The city of Coon Rapids has ramped up its collector street reconstruction program this year.
Plans are to reconstruct nine collector streets in the city in 2012 a total of some 4.5 miles.
That compares with the four collector streets totaling 2.4 miles that the city upgraded last year.
The deteriorating condition of the city’s collector streets prompted the Coon Rapids City Council to direct city staff to increase the collector street reconstruction program for 2012.
The council has ordered feasibility reports and preparation of plans for two projects.
One contract will be in the area of Northdale Boulevard, west of Crooked Lake Boulevard, with four streets to be reconstructed.
• Blackfoot Street, north of Coon Rapids Boulevard.
• 119th Avenue, from Blackfoot Street to Jonquil Street.
• Northdale Boulevard, west of Crooked Lake Boulevard to 124th Avenue.
• 124th Avenue, west of Northdale Boulevard.
According to City Engineer Doug Vierzba, these streets are between 24 and 34 years old.
The second contract will encompass five collector streets in the south central part of the city.
• Hanson Boulevard, south of Mississippi Boulevard.
• 99th Avenue, east of Hanson Boulevard.
• Egret Boulevard, north of 99th Avenue.
• 99th Avenue, west of Foley Boulevard.
• Springbrook Drive, south of Holly Street.
These five collector streets are between 28 and 41 years old, Vierzba said.
In both cases, the projects will involve replacing concrete curb that it in poor condition and repaving a new bituminous surface, he said.
Both projects will have several properties to assess for the improvements, according to Vierzba.
In the area of Northdale west of Crooked Lake Boulevard, properties include commercial sites, townhomes, apartments and a few single-family homes with access to the streets, Vierzba said.
The five collector streets to be reconstructed in the south central part of Coon Rapids have commercial sites, apartments and a few single-family homes that would benefit from the project.
“These city streets are state aid streets,” Vierzba said. “Therefore, state aid funds can be used to pay for costs not recovered through assessments.”
Proposed assessments will use the normal rates for street reconstruction – $1,575 per home, $19.69 per front foot for apartment property and $39.38 per foot of width for commercial property, he said.
“All property owners have been notified of the proposed projects,” Vierzba said.
Once the feasibility reports have been prepared, the council will set public hearings on the projects.
Construction is scheduled for May through September, according to Vierzba.
Anyone who has traveled on Northdale, west of Crooked Lake Boulevard, knows how critical it is to reconstruct this street this year, said Mayor Tim Howe.
According to Howe, many other cities assess the cost of reconstructing streets as Coon Rapids does.
“Some cities assess a much larger portion than we do,” Howe said.
“I think we assess an equitable amount for projects that increase property values.”
Collector streets are built wider than normal city residential roads because they are designed to carry more traffic.
State aid dollars were used by the city to pay for much of the cost of originally constructing the collector streets.
State gas tax revenues are used by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for annual allocations of state aid to cities.
According to Vierzba, the city gets some $2 million a year in gas tax revenues from the state aid street account.
“The normal $2 million allotment will not be enough to pay for all the costs of the projects this year,” Vierzba said.
Besides the collector streets earmarked for reconstruction, the city is on the hook in 2012 for its state aid money to pay for Coon Rapids’ share of the Anoka County contract for the Main Street reconstruction project, including the pedestrian tunnel under Main Street and new street lighting on Main Street.
As a result, the council last year passed a resolution requesting state aid advance funding for the 2012 street reconstruction program from MnDOT in the amount of $2.3 million.
These advance funds will be available for use in 2012, interest free, Vierzba said.
“The city would need to request an advance again next year for street work to be done in 2013 as the city’s normal 2013 allotment funds would have been spent in 2012,” he said.
At some point, probably in four to five years, the city will have to forego its state aid allotment for a year, according to Steve Gatlin, city public services director.
But by then, the hope is that the needed collector street system reconstruction projects will have been completed, Gatlin said.
Peter Bodley is at firstname.lastname@example.org