by Karin Craig
For the Union
The East Bethel City Council June 5 voted 3-2 to approve easement deeds necessary for a project to extend Johnson Street north from 215th to 221st avenues. Construction is expected to take place this summer.
The project will create a new Highway 65 service road from 215th to 221st avenues and will also eliminate the access and median crossing at 219th Avenue and Highway 65.
The estimated cost for the project is $1,500,000, of which about $1,200,000 is actual construction costs. The remainder will cover engineering, legal and other costs. The project will be funded by cooperative agreement grant funds and state aid funds.
No contracts for the project will be signed until the property owners sign the easement deeds. The cost of the current offers for the easements is $183,589.16.
Councilmember Heidi Moegerle called the project “the greatest thing since sliced bread,” saying that it will be “huge” for opening the area up for development, whether it be business or residential development.
Councilmembers Robert DeRoche and Tom Ronning voted against approving the easement deeds, DeRoche stating that he had expressed his opposition to the project in the past.