Pedestrian safety improvements planned on Highway 10 in Anoka

Anoka County is hoping to tap into state dollars for pedestrian safety improvements on Highway 10 in Anoka.

The Anoka County Board June 10 approved a resolution seeking funds from the Minnesota Department of Transportation through its fiscal year 2016 municipal agreement program for a project between West Main Street and Thurston Avenue in Anoka.

It is an area where Highway 10 transitions from freeway to expressway, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic on the south side of Highway 10 between Fairoak Avenue and Cutters Lane, pedestrians are crossing Highway 10 randomly where most convenient mid-block and there have been four pedestrian fatalities in this area over the past four years, according to the resolution seeking the state funds passed by the county board.

Under the county plan, a concrete barrier will be constructed in the median along Highway 10 from West Main Street to Thurston Avenue with a chain link fence on top of the barrier to prevent pedestrians from jumping over it, said Doug Fischer, county division manager for transportation and county highway engineer.

Work will also take place on the frontage roads on the north and south sides of Highway 10 in this area to improve pedestrian safety and access, and to funnel pedestrians to cross Highway 10 at the signalized Fairoak Avenue intersection, he said.

The state funding is not guaranteed, but he expects to find out if the application has been successful in a couple of months, according to Fischer.

“We are very optimistic that it will be approved,” Fischer said.

If approved, Fischer is looking at construction starting in the early summer of 2015, he said.

Under the MnDOT program, the state would pay for the construction costs, estimated between $650,000 and $700,000, while the county’s responsibility will be the engineering work, Fischer said.

While no county roads access Highway 10 in this section, the county “felt compelled” to take the lead on this project because of the safety concerns, Fischer said.

“This is the first step in making safety improvements along Highway 10 all through Anoka and Ramsey,” said County Commissioner Scott Schulte, who chairs the county board’s Transportation Committee.

Based on traffic volumes and safety concerns along this stretch of Highway 10, project partners agree a freeway is the proper vision for this corridor, according to Fischer.

But considering overall state and federal funding levels, it will be difficult to achieve the vision of a freeway on this segment of Highway 10 in the next 20 years, he wrote.

With state bonding money from the 2014 Minnesota Legislature, the county is also close to securing all the funding needed for the Highway 10-Armstrong Boulevard interchange project in Ramsey.

  • Not_thetaxman

    I’m not a big fan of this. We, the taxpayers need to spend mondy on a wall because some people are too lazy to walk down to a crosswalk. Can’t we throw special assessments on the folks that live right there? As soon as they know they would need to pay for it, I bet some might find that the walk really isn’t that far.

    • RegularJoe62

      Actually, the walk is pretty far – it’s a half mile between the lights at Fairoak and Thurston. Also, with frontage roads on both sides at Fairoak, a pedestrian would have to cross nine lanes of traffic to get out of the paths of cars. A pedestrian bridge would be better than this.