Coon Rapids street reconstruction ramped up

The city of Coon Rapids is ramping up its street reconstruction program for 2013.

Plans are to reconstruct nine miles of residential streets and 1.82 miles of state aid collector streets this year.

That compares with five miles of residential streets and 4.2 miles of collector streets that were reconstructed in 2012.

“We are looking to catch up and meet the needs,” said City Engineer Bob Moberg.

Moberg, who was previously city engineer in Plymouth, was appointed city engineer in Coon Rapids to take the place of longtime City Engineer Doug Vierzba, who retired at the end of September 2012.

The roads that are planned for reconstruction range from 30 to 40 years old, according to Moberg.

There are three main areas of the city where residential street reconstruction is planned, Moberg said.

One is on the west side of Crooked Lake Boulevard between Coon Rapids Boulevard and the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad tracks in the neighborhood where some of the streets were reconstructed two years ago.

Residential streets east of Crooked Lake Boulevard between Coon Rapids Boulevard and the railroad tracks are also proposed for reconstruction this year.

The third area where residential streets are planned for upgrading in 2013 is west of Robinson Drive in the neighborhood where several of the streets were part of the 2012 program.

In addition, there are three isolated streets of short distance that are proposed as part of the 2013 street reconstruction program, according to Moberg.

One is Oakwood Drive on the city’s border with Anoka between Ninth Avenue and Eldorado Street, south of Coon Rapids Boulevard.

Ninth Avenue, south of Coon Rapids Boulevard, was upgraded in 2012 as part of a joint project between the cities of Anoka and Coon Rapids.

Vale Street just west of East River Road and 88th Avenue, also west of East River Road, in the southwestern part of Coon Rapids are also planned for reconstruction, Moberg said.

Three collector streets, for which the city receives state aid dollars to partially offset the cost of the upgrades, are included in the 2013 reconstruction program.

Collector or state aid streets are built wider and sturdier to typically handle more and heavier traffic than residential streets.

One is Woodcrest Drive from Egret Boulevard to 99th Avenue and another is 113th Avenue from Hanson Boulevard to Robinson Drive, Moberg said.

The third is Blackfoot Street from 119th Avenue to Coon Rapids Boulevard, he said.

According to Moberg, Blackfoot was originally planned to be reconstructed in 2012 at the same time that 119th Avenue was upgraded, Moberg said.

But it was put off a year because of Mercy Hospital’s plans to build a large medical office facility on property abutting Blackfoot in 2013 and it made no sense to have the road reconstructed and then be impacted by heavy equipment getting to and from the construction site, he said.

“The hope is that we can do the road work between the time the heavy equipment is no longer needed on the project and when the medical office building opens,” Moberg said.

According to Moberg, feasibility reports spelling out the scope of the projects, their estimated cost and proposed assessments will be presented to the council in February, with public hearings before the council in late March or early April.

Prior to the formal hearings, staff will schedule meetings in each neighborhood affected, probably in late February or early March. Moberg said.

Construction would take place between May and October, he said.

Letters were sent out in mid-December to all property owners impacted by the proposed street reconstruction to give them early notice and identify the steps to be taken by the city in considering the project, Moberg said.

The letters were mailed not only to those who would be assessed, but also residents beyond those immediately impacted, he said.

The letters outline the assessments, although the city pays a substantial portion of the project cost.

• For a typical single-family property, the assessment is proposed at $1,620 per lot compared with $1,575 in 2012.

• For multi-family properties (duplexes, townhouses, apartments), the proposed assessment would be $20.24 per front foot; it was $19.69 in 2012.

• For commercial/office properties, the assessment is proposed at $40.48 a front foot compared with $39.38 in 2012.

According to Moberg, the assessments are based on the construction cost index which has risen 2.8 percent over the past year. “Construction costs are starting to go up, unfortunately,” Moberg said.

Properties that have been assessed for other street projects within the past five years won’t be assessed for this project, he said.