Coon Rapids council delays approval of collector street projects

The city of Coon Rapids’ collector streets reconstruction project is on hold until the Coon Rapids City Council’s Tuesday, April 3 meeting.

The council had been scheduled to order the project as well as plans and specifications following a public/assessment hearing March 20.

But the absence of two councilmembers meant that the necessary 6-1 super majority of the council was not present to take any action, even though there were no objections to the project from benefiting property owners at the hearings.

However, councilmembers at the meeting March 20 made it clear they had no problems with the proposals.

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

While benefiting properties are proposed to be 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,” said City Engineer Doug Vierzba.

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.

According to Vierzba, one phone call about the project came from longtime resident Tom Compton, whose street address is on 118th Lane, but with driveway access on to Northdale, who did not think he should have to pay for an assessment on Northdale.

Before Northdale was upgraded 25 years ago, Compton had access to 118th and the city required him to change his access to Northdale after purchasing a portion of his property along Northdale for the expansion of the boulevard, Vierzba said.

“It is much more difficult to access Northdale due to the busy traffic (over 13,000 vehicles a day),” he said.

This is the only home that has direct access to Northdale, Vierzba said.

The council directed staff to work out an agreement with Compton by which he would not pay for the assessment on Northdale, but would be assessed when 118th is reconstructed.

The second project includes 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.

One resident did not oppose the project, but was concerned about users of the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park parking on Egret to avoid having to pay to park at the regional park.

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.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]