Second University Avenue project open house

A second public open house on Anoka County’s proposed upgrade to University Avenue from County Road 10 to Main Street in Blaine and Coon Rapids will take place Wednesday, Aug. 29, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at Blaine City Hall, 10801 Town Square Drive N.E.

This is an open house style event with no formal presentation.

Anoka County Highway Department officials will be at the meeting to answer questions and hear comments from the public.

A postcard mailing has been sent by the county to property owners within a half-mile area of the proposed construction zone.

The project, which begins at University Avenue’s intersection with 109th Avenue/Northdale Boulevard and ends just south of the Main Street N.W./125th Avenue N.E. intersection, is the final leg in the reconstruction of University Avenue from County Road 10 north to Main Street.

Two prior projects in recent years upgraded University Avenue from 109th Avenue south to County Road 10.

According to information provided to the Anoka County Board, the project has received $6,364,800 in federal funds.

The engineer’s total project cost estimate is $7,964,800, with construction scheduled to take place in 2014.

There will be cost sharing by the cities of Blaine and Coon Rapids.

As proposed, the project will construct 1.854 miles of University Avenue from an existing two-lane road to a four-lane roadway with a center concrete median, shoulders, turn lane, trail and traffic signal.

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

In addition, the existing traffic signals at 117th and 125th avenues will be reconstructed to accommodate two through lanes of traffic.

Existing bus stop locations will be improved by providing pedestrian ramps or curb-cuts and connections to a bicycle/pedestrian path/trail that will run parallel to but will be separated from the existing road.

As part of the project, the bridge over Sand Creek will be replaced so will an existing 88-inch span reinforced concrete elliptical pipe at the crossing of County Ditch 39.

The county board has retained WSB & Associates to design the road project as well as for bridge design services.

According to the Anoka County Highway Department project webpage, University Avenue currently averages 14,000 vehicles a day, which is anticipated to increase to 18,000 and 22,000 vehicles a day as parallel routes on Highways 10 and 65 become more congested.

At the first open house in February, residents on both the Coon Rapids and Blaine sides of University Avenue had issues with proposed loss of access from their residential streets as a result of the median, according to Doug Fischer, county highway engineer.

There were also access concerns raised by Morningside Memorial Gardens, the cemetery on the Coon Rapids side of University Avenue, and Park of Four Seasons, a manufactured home development on the Blaine side, Fischer said.

“No final design for the project has been completed,” he said.

The project’s final design is scheduled to be finished in the spring of 2014, according to the project webpage.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]