Coon Rapids Boulevard near Mercy Hospital will be closed this weekend

Coon Rapids Boulevard will be closed to traffic at Mercy Hospital from 5 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 14) to 5 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16.

Map shows the road closure planned on Coon Rapids Boulevard at Mercy Hospital with the detour route starting Saturday, Dec. 14 at 5 a.m. until Monday, Dec. 16 at 5 a.m., for the installation of a skyway across the boulevard. Map: Anoka County Highway Department

Map shows the road closure planned on Coon Rapids Boulevard at Mercy Hospital with the detour route starting Saturday, Dec. 14 at 5 a.m. until Monday, Dec. 16 at 5 a.m., for the installation of a skyway across the boulevard. Map: Anoka County Highway Department

Construction crews will be placing a new skyway over the boulevard to connect the hospital with the new Allina Health medical office building on the north side of the boulevard.

While the boulevard is closed, traffic will be detoured between Dakotah and Blackfoot streets, using 9th Avenue, 119th Avenue and Blackfoot.

The road closure this weekend will be from just west of Blackfoot to just east of Dakotah, according to a detour map provided by the Anoka County Highway Department, which has jurisdiction over Coon Rapids Boulevard.

In the event of bad weather, the skyway installation and road closure will be postponed until the following weekend.

Informational updates will be provided by electronic message boards, which have been placed on Coon Rapids Boulevard at both ends of the detour.

According to Capt. Cary Parks, Coon Rapids Police, isolated lane closures on this section of the boulevard can be expected for five to six weeks beyond this weekend’s road closure.

The lane closures will allow the construction crew to continue work on the skyway, Parks said.

That work is expected to take place during business hours, he said.

Approvals for the skyway have come from both the Coon Rapids City Council in the form of a site plan and the Anoka County Board through a license agreement, which allows the skyway to be built over the boulevard.

According to David Moga, project manager for Pope Architects, Inc., the architect for both the medical building and skyway, plans are to have the skyway open at the same time that the medical building is ready for occupancy, which is anticipated to be in early February 2014.

Kraus Anderson Construction Company is construction manager on the project.

The skyway will extend 300 feet from the south side of the office building across the boulevard. It will then run 160 feet parallel to the south side of the boulevard and then 80 feet south into the hospital.

A small addition will be constructed by the main hospital entrance for the skyway connection, according to Scott Harlicker, Coon Rapids planner in his report to the council earlier this year.

There will be 18 feet of clearance between the bottom of the skyway and Coon Rapids Boulevard.

The exterior of the skyway will be a mix of gray, red and beige architectural metal panels and glass windows, Harlicker wrote.

The supports will be concrete covered with a gray architectural metal panel; the bottom four feet will be exposed aggregate, he wrote in his report.

Allina Health’s Mercy Specialty Center will be a 120,000 square-foot, multi-specialty medical building, which will include the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute – Mercy Hospital.

The four-story building has a $22 million price tag and is being paid for by Allina Health, of which Mercy is a part.

Features of the building include a drop-off entrance, plenty of parking, hands-free entrances, extra-wide corridors, elevators and suite entrances.

For more information on the project or detour contact Ross Nelson, Kraus-Anderson project manager, at 612-335-2779 or email ross.nelson@krausanderson.com.

A detour map can be found at http://www.ci.coon-rapids.mn.us/GeneralInfo/PDF/CRBlvdClosureNotice.pdf.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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