Blaine council reviews University Avenue project

by Tim Hennagir
Life Editor

Blaine city leaders were pleased with University Avenue reconstruction details presented Feb. 9 during an open house advance meeting with Anoka County.

Andrew Witter, assistant county highway engineer; Jason Orcutt, engineering design supervisor; and Matthew Parent, project planning manager, attended last week’s workshop to review proposed improvements that are scheduled to start construction in 2014.

A late afternoon and early evening project open house is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The University Avenue reconstruction open house will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the atrium Blaine City Hall, 10801 Town Square Drive N.E.

Project maps will be posted for public review.

Anoka County received federal funding to rebuild University Avenue from just north of 109th Street to just south of Main Street/125th Avenue.

According to Witter, construction will begin in the spring of 2014.

The general plan includes a four-lane roadway, dedicated left- and right-turn lanes, a center concrete median and separated bike and pedestrian paths.

According to Witter, the University Avenue project will require acquisition of additional right of way.

The University Avenue work also involves the reconstruction of major intersections and installation of turn lanes at all public streets in the project area.

In 2010, prior to the reconstruction of Main Street/125th Avenue, University carried between 11,000 and 14,000 vehicles daily.

By 2034, Anoka County estimates traffic volumes through the corridor will range between 18,000 and 22,000 vehicles per day.

Reconstruction will reduce congestion and improve overall safety.

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

In addition, existing signals at 117th and 125th avenues will be reconstructed to accommodate two through lanes of traffic. “We are looking at our first cut at this project [tonight],” Witter told the council.

Councilmember Russ Herbst asked Orcutt how many public notices had been sent out.

Orcutt said 3,100 notices had been delivered in the entire project area.

Project and meeting notices to residents in the Park of the Four Seasons manufactured home community, 113th Avenue N.E. were hand-delivered, Orcutt said.

Councilmember Dave Clark asked about 111th Avenue N.E. and University Avenue offset.

Orcutt said realignment would occur as part of the overall project.

During discussion, Robert Therres, public services manager, mentioned a possible second access point for the Four Seasons manufactured home community.

Mayor Pro-Tem Katherine Kolb said historically, a second access point into the park not been supported by the neighborhood.

“[But] it makes a lot of sense to have,” Kolb said.

Orcutt said the majority of the University Avenue reconstruction work would be completed in a year.

A noise analysis expert would be available at the Feb. 15 meeting at Blaine City Hall to answer questions about noise monitoring and any sound walls which will be included in the University Avenue project.

See the Jan. 24 editions of the Blaine-Spring Lake Park Life and Sun-Focus for a recap story about the Feb. 15 University Avenue reconstruction open house.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]