Blaine planning for multiple road projects

The Blaine City Council Nov. 7 proceeded with a number of different road projects from overlay maintenance to realigning a service road.

The city of Blaine will be removing the southern most 600-foot segment of the Central Avenue service road that accesses 85th Avenue next to Highway 65 and moving the access just west of Kwik Trip’s property. The new segment would connect to the remainder of the service road.Photo by Eric Hagen

The city of Blaine will be removing the southern most 600-foot segment of the Central Avenue service road that accesses 85th Avenue next to Highway 65 and moving the access just west of Kwik Trip’s property. The new segment would connect to the remainder of the service road. Photo by Eric Hagen

City Engineer Jean Keely said the council decided during its Oct. 24 workshop meeting that the Central Avenue service road segment by Kwik Trip and Dairy Queen should be realigned because the entrance off 85th Avenue is very close to the intersection with Highway 65.

The city is proposing to remove 600 feet of existing road east of Kwik Trip and construct a new road on the west side of Kwik Trip’s site, which would cut north and connect with the remainder of the existing service road north of the Dairy Queen, according to Keely. The Central Avenue service road does not connect to 89th Avenue.

Keely said the city will utilize pooled tax increment financing funds and there would be no property assessments and thus no public hearing.

Residents on nearby Lincoln Street have raised concerns about traffic cutting through, particularly when the Darul Arqam Center of Excellence opens along the Central Avenue service road. Ward 1 Councilmembers Wes Hovland and Dick Swanson said the road is also a direct route to the Anoka County Human Services Division building.

Hovland and Swanson believe this improved service road will alleviate some traffic from Lincoln Street, but Hovland is interested in finding other ways to move traffic away from Lincoln Street such as speed humps.

Keely believes speed humps could not be funded with pooled TIF dollars and would have to be assessed to the neighborhood properties, but said she could check.

Councilmember Kathy Kolb said with the snow about to fly, she would prefer the rest of the project move forward while staff researches this question.

Hovland said he would want a neighborhood meeting first to see what they thought of the speed humps idea.

“I’m just looking for ways to eliminate that traffic issue on Lincoln,” he said.

Kolb said up in Ward 3, Oak Park Boulevard has a sign that says it is not a through street, but it actually does go through to Main Street.

“I’ve lived there for 20 years and I hardly take that road because it told me it doesn’t go through,” she said.

Councilmember Russ Herbst, who also represents Ward 3 with Kolb, remembers the service roads being constructed in this ward and said it really helps move traffic.

“These frontage roads are important. Boy, are they utilized,” Herbst said. “Anytime you can get a section in and keep working your way up, your neighborhood people stay off that highway and stick to the frontage road if they’re going to the store.”

Aside from improving safety at the 85th Avenue access and perhaps getting traffic away from Lincoln Street, the southern segment of the service road moving west will open up some Blaine Economic Development Authority land for development, according to City Manager Clark Arneson.

Initiating multiple other projects

Besides this service road realignment, the council initiated multiple other projects by ordering feasibility reports to be prepared. Once the reports are completed, the council would schedule public hearings before miving forward with the projects.

One project involves the milling and overlay of Naples Street from 95th Avenue to where the road currently dead ends north of 101st Avenue.

Four different neighborhood streets will be overlayed, including 113th Avenue from Buchanan Road to Jefferson Street.

Streets in the D. Erickson 4th Addition and Jackson Place neighborhoods will be reconstructed next year. These roads currently have concrete curb and gutter so the reconstruction can be limited to removal and replacement of existing pavement and curb repair where necessary, according to Keely.

The city asked for a feasibility report to be done for reconstructing Flowerfield Road from Lake Drive to Lexington Avenue.

The third and final phase of the 93rd Lane Industrial Park Area street improvement project that will take place next year includes Eldorado Street from Radisson Road to 91st Avenue, Hastings Street from Radisson Road to the cul-de-sac and Radisson Road from 91st Avenue to 93rd Lane.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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