Anoka County is seeking state funding for two proposed highway projects.
The Anoka County Board, on the recommendation of its Public Works Committee, has submitted an application to the Minnesota Department of Transportation for funding through the agency’s metro municipal agreement program.
One project would upgrade the intersection at Highway 65 and 109th Avenue in Blaine, for which the county has applied for $299,000, and the other would make improvements on TH 47 in Ramsey, for which it is seeking $259,000.
According to Doug Fischer, county highway engineer, the state allocates funding for projects that involve state highways by which it will pay for the construction, while the county foots the bill for the design and engineering work and right of way acquisition costs.
In both these projects, the county would do the design and engineering work in-house and very little right of way acquisition is anticipated, Fischer said.
Because of its high volume of traffic, the 109th Avenue/Highway 65 intersection is one of the most problematic in the county, he said.
Not only are there a lot of businesses in the area of the intersection, including a Super Target, Best Buy and several restaurants, but also the Blaine VFW Post, Fischer said.
In addition, 109th Avenue (County State Aid Highway 12), east of Highway 65, leads to Tournament Players Parkway that takes people to the TPC of the Twin Cities golf course, and also provides National Sports Center soccer fields and Blaine City Hall, he said.
The proposed project would construct a dedicated right-turn lane and convert the existing through/right-turn lane to a through lane at the signalized intersection.
Having two through lanes and a dedicated right-turn lane will allow more vehicles to pass through the intersection on 109th when the traffic light is green and enable the signals to be reset to move traffic more efficiently on Highway 65, according to Fischer.
The right-turn lane will mean a traffic signal pole will have to be relocated and it’s possible that if MnDOT approves the project for funding, it might put more money in for new traffic signals to be installed at the intersection, Fischer said.
“That would be nice and a matter for negotiations,” he said.
The traffic improvements, for which state funding is sought on TH 47 in Ramsey, propose constructing a shoulder on southbound 47 as well as converting the existing pavement to allow for a dedicated right-turn lane at 47 and Industry Avenue.
In addition, the project would convert the existing pavement to allow for a dedicated left-, through and right-turn lanes at the intersection of 47 and Bunker Lake Boulevard, a county state aid highway.
“This is both a safety and traffic flow improvement project,” Fischer said.
The proposal would allow for a much more gradual merging of traffic where County State Aid Highway 5 meets TH 47, he said.
“Right now, drivers on 5 have very little time to merge into 47 and have to really crane their necks to see if it is safe to do so,” Fischer said.
“The shoulder and right-turn lane will allow for a much more gradual process.”
Having dedicated left, through and right-turn lanes at 47 and Bunker Lake Boulevard will improve traffic flow and access to businesses, Fischer said.
If approved, the money would be available July 1, 2014, which means construction would take place in either 2014 or 2015, according to Fischer.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]