Coon Rapids ramps up collect street reconstruction

by Peter Bodley
Managing Editor

The city of Coon Rapids is planning to almost double the mileage of collector streets reconstructed this year.

The reconstruction work on 4.2 miles of collector streets this year, compared with 2.4 miles completed in 2011, will be split into two projects – one in the west central part of Coon Rapids and the other in the south central portion of the city.

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 accepted feasibility reports prepared by City Engineer Doug Vierzba on both projects and set public/assessment hearings for its Tuesday, March 20 meeting at 7 p.m.

While benefiting properties are proposed to assessed a fixed amount for the reconstruction work, the bulk of the project costs will be paid by the city from its state aid street account.

The project in the west central part of Coon Rapids will be in the area of Northdale Boulevard, west of Crooked Lake Boulevard, with three streets to be reconstructed.

• 119th Avenue, from Blackfoot Street to Jonquil Street.

• Northdale Boulevard, west of Crooked Lake Boulevard to 124th Avenue.

• 124th Avenue, west of Northdale Boulevard.

“The streets are between 24 and 34 years old and are in poor condition,” Vierzba said.

Originally, Blackfoot Street, north of Coon Rapids Boulevard was to have been included in the project, but Vierzba said that Mercy Hospital is planning to develop its property north of Coon Rapids Boulevard and west of Blackfoot next year and the Blackfoot upgrade will likely be included in the 2013 reconstruction program.

In addition, a portion of Northdale adjacent to the Coon Rapids American Legion won’t be repaved as part of the 2012 contract because Anoka County is planning to install new traffic signals and widen the intersection at Northdale and Crooked Lake boulevards in 2013, Vierzba said.

Estimated cost is $1.5 million, of which $107,486.91 is proposed to be assessed to benefiting properties, which include four single-family homes, whose owners will each be assessed $1,575; 15 townhomes and two apartment buildings, which will have assessments of $19.69 per average front foot; and four commercial sites, whose assessment will be $39.38 per front foot.

“These sites include Target and Wells Fargo Bank,” Vierzba said.

The second project encompasses two miles of five collector streets which are between 28 and 41 years old and located in the south central part of the city.

They are:

• 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.

As part of the 99th Avenue reconstruction, west of Foley, right-turn lanes will be provided on 99th for northbound traffic at the entrance to the shopping center and for Woodcrest Drive, Vierzba said.

According to Vierzba, the estimated project cost is $1.3 million, of which $159,601.14 will be assessed to benefiting properties, the balance to come from the city’s state aid street account.

There are 30 single-family homes with direct access to the streets to be reconstructed which will be assessed for this work as well as two apartment buildings and seven commercial sites.

Prior to the public/assessment hearing April 3, city staff will host an information meeting for benefiting property owners Monday, March 12, 6:30 p.m., in the city council chambers.

The council is scheduled to award contracts for both projects at its May 15 meeting with construction to start in early June and be completed in September.

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 are available for use this year, 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 [email protected]