Open house set on University Avenue project

by Peter Bodley
Managing Editor

A public open house meeting on Anoka County’s plans to reconstruct University Avenue from County Road 10 to Main Street in Blaine and Coon Rapids will take place Wednesday, Feb. 15, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at Blaine City Hall, 10801 Town Square Drive N.E.

The project, which begins at University Avenue’s intersection with 109th Avenue/Northdale Boulevard and ends just south of Main Street N.W./125th Avenue N.E., is the final leg in the reconstruction of University Avenue from County Road 10 north to Main Street.

Two prior projects in recent years upgraded University Avenue from 109th Avenue south to County Road 10.

During the open house, the public will be able to discuss the project in an informal manner with officials from the county and the cities of Blaine and Coon Rapids, as well as project consultant, WSB & Associates, Minneapolis.

Maps, drawings and other pertinent information will be available for public inspection at the open house, according to Sharon Montague, WSB & Associates, administrative group coordinator.

With federal funds in hand, the Anoka County Board last year hired WSB to prepare an environmental assessment/environmental assessment worksheet for the project in a contract worth more than $192,000.

According to Jason Orcutt of the Anoka County Highway Department, the proposed project will reconstruct 1.56 miles of University Avenue, which is the border between Coon Rapids and Blaine, to a four-lane divided highway with shoulders, and turn lanes to be installed at all public streets to improve safety and operations.

The traffic signal at 111th Avenue will be reconstructed to connect with 111th Lane and provide a single access point, Orcutt said.

In addition, the existing traffic signals at 117th and 125th avenues will be reconstructed to accommodate two through lanes of traffic, he said.

“The proposed project also includes construction of a pedestrian/bicycle path along both sides of the roadway,” Orcutt said.

At its meeting Jan. 24, the Anoka County Board, on the recommendation of its Public Works Committee, approved a purchase of service agreement with WSB for bridge design services for the project.

Under the contract, which will cost no more than $62,866, the bridge over Sand Creek will be replaced as well as an existing 88-inch span reinforced concrete elliptical pipe at the crossing of County Ditch 39.

According to Doug Fischer, county highway engineer, one of the replacements could be in the form of a box culvert.

Construction of the project is scheduled to start in the spring of 2014.

The county has received $6.4 million in federal funds for the University Avenue project, which is about 80 percent of the estimated project cost of around $8 million, Fischer said.

There will also be cost sharing by the cities of Blaine and Coon Rapids, he said.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]