Crooked Lake-Northdale intersection project delayed

Anoka County has delayed until 2014 its plan to reconstruct and install new traffic signals at the intersection of Crooked Lake and Northdale boulevards in Coon Rapids.

The county, which has received a federal grant of $550,800 for the project, had included the intersection work in this year’s highway construction program.

But at the request of the city of Coon Rapids and the Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 the project has been pushed back a year.

According to Coon Rapids City Engineer Bob Moberg, the city and school district asked for the delay because the county was getting a late start on construction and would not have completed the work before the 2013-2014 school year began Sept. 3.

There were concerns about traffic problems with busing as well as students walking to and from school because of the proximity of three District 11 schools to the intersection, Moberg said. They are Coon Rapids High School, Coon Rapids Middle School and Morris Bye Elementary School.

Because federal funds are paying for the bulk of the project cost, the county had to request an extension in the project timeline from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and that was granted, according to Moberg.

The timetable for the project in 2014 is to award a contract in March with construction to start June 9 once the school year ends. The work would be completed by the time school resumes in September 2014.

In May, the Coon Rapids City Council had a public/assessment hearing on the intersection project because two benefiting commercial properties will be assessed at a rate of $40.48 a front foot as part of the project. The assessment won’t be approved by the council until the county awards a contract for the project, Moberg said.

The intersection project is designed to increase safety as well as improve road conditions, he said.

The cost estimate of the project, excluding right of way, is $839,100 with the city’s share being $231,000, of which $37,646.40 will be assessed, Moberg wrote in his report to the council.

The balance of the city’s cost, $193,354, will be part the county’s federal grant allocation plus money taken from the city’s state aid street account, which is funded from state gas tax revenues, he wrote.

The project includes the addition of dedicated right-turn lanes at all four legs of the intersection; widening and resurfacing the north, south and east legs of the intersection; widening and reconstructing the west leg of the intersection; replacement of the existing traffic signal; concrete curb and gutter; drainage enhancements and sidewalk replacement, Moberg wrote in his report to the council.

According to Moberg, project boundaries are on Crooked Lake Boulevard from 117th Lane to the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe Railroad crossing and on Northdale from Bittersweet Street to about 500 feet west of Crooked Lake Boulevard.

As part of the project, Northdale will be reconstructed from Crooked Lake Boulevard to the west to match the segment of Northdale reconstructed by the city last year, Moberg wrote.

Within the project area, Crooked Lake Boulevard was originally constructed in 1982 and Northdale in 1988, he wrote.

The council had earlier approved a joint powers agreement with Anoka County, which spells out the scope of the project and the cost sharing.

The Anoka County Board has also approved the joint powers agreement.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]