County to seeks federal funding for Foley project

Anoka County has made a fourth application for a federal grant to pay the bulk of the cost to build an overpass on Foley Boulevard at the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks in Coon Rapids.

The county has had three prior requests for a Tiger III (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) federal railway program grant turned down.

Now a fourth grant request under the same Tiger program is under consideration at the federal level, according to Jon Olson, county division manager for public services.

The county is seeking $12 million in federal grant dollars, Olson said.

The county has previously committed $3 million and by law, Burlington-Northern Santa Fe Railroad is responsible for 5 percent of the bridge cost or $750,000, he said.

But that amount has not yet been negotiated with the railroad, Olson said.

The project, for which design work was authorized in early 2010 by the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority, carries an estimated price tag of more than $15 million.

The rail authority at its meeting May 22 increased the contract amount for the project with consulting engineer TKDA.

The amended contract, which also extended the term from Dec. 31, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2015, has increased by $250,323 from $653,393 to $903,716, according to a memo presented to the rail authority by Olson.

This reflects work that has been done on the project beyond the anticipated scope of the original agreement, Olson said.

The biggest change was design of a seven-span bridge rather than a two-span bridge over the railroad tracks with the second largest being circulation around the Foley Park and Ride for pedestrians, buses and automobiles, he said.

“In addition, a service road concept north of Foley Boulevard was also studied,” Olson wrote in his report.

According to Olson, the city of Coon Rapids has agreed to pay $17,572 of the increased contract figure.

The project would include an almost 30-foot bridge over the railroad crossing near the Foley Park and Ride; raising the roadway from East River Road to near the park the ride; reconstruction of Foley from Coon Rapids Boulevard to East River Road with a median; sidewalk or trail on both sides of Foley; and retaining walls to minimize property impacts.

A public open house meeting took place in May 2010 to outline the project’s scope. Some 40 people attended.

From Coon Rapids Boulevard to the railroad tracks, there are businesses on both sides of Foley, apart from the park and ride.

From the railroad tracks to East River Road, there is one business and residential properties on Foley.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]