Groundbreaking for Ramsey rail station

Groundbreaking ceremony for the Ramsey Commuter Rail project will take place Tuesday, March 27, 3 p.m.

Construction on the new station on the Northstar Commuter Rail line is scheduled to start in early April.

“We hope to take advantage of the good weather,” said Tim Yantos, executive director of the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority.

Under the project timetable, substantial completion is scheduled to occur by Oct. 31 and revenue service starting Nov. 16.

The Anoka County Regional Rail Authority March 13 approved a contract for independent testing services needed for the station project.

Authorization was given for negotiations to be completed with Braun Intertec Corporation to provide the testing services for the station and skyway connection in an amount not to exceed $84,455.

The contract, which will run through Dec. 31 this year, is included as part of the budget for the station project, according to Yantos.

Braun was chosen by an evaluation team after requests for proposal (RFP) were issued to two pre-qualified firms capable of providing the necessary independent testing for the project construction.

The contract amount is within the budgeted amount for the project, Yantos said.

“The project is on time and under budget,” he said.

Indeed, according to Yantos, the project is currently $2.5 million under its $13.2 million estimate, which includes $1.8 million for contingencies.

Of that $2.5 million, some $1.5 million has been saved through the negotiations with the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad for the easement costs for the station, Yantos said.

In addition, back in January, the rail authority approved the low bid for the station’s construction from Sheehy Construction which at $6,439,130 was more than $600,000 under the $7,161,500 estimate.

Sheehy will build the station platform, the pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks and the skyway connection to the parking ramp.

The skyway connection has a $1.15 million price tag, which is in addition to the project budget.

The project is being paid for through a combination of funds from the city of Ramsey, the county regional rail authority, the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) and the Metropolitan Council.

The Ramsey station will be the seventh station along the Northstar route, which runs from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis.

The other stations are in Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Fridley and Minneapolis.

Operated by Metro Transit, the Northstar line provides service on a 40-mile segment of existing BNSF track.

Service is offered during weekday morning and evening rush hours as well as weekends and some special events.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]