St. Francis approves Bridge Street agreement

After learning on July 7 that Anoka County has reduced the city’s portion of costs for the 2015 Bridge Street reconstruction project, the St. Francis City Council unanimously approved a joint powers agreement with the county for that project.

When the county had first presented the agreement to the city council on June 2, the city’s estimated portion of the cost had been $670,624.60, or $505,777.72 if some optional items were excluded. St. Francis Mayor Jerry Tveit had expressed surprise at those numbers, saying he hadn’t expected the cost to be that high.

Curt Kobilarcsik, Anoka County’s right of way supervisor, said Monday the county has been able to carve the city’s portion down to $497,000, or $368,000 without the optional items.

Those cost reductions were made by reducing the city’s share in costs for lighting and the school entrance, and further study had also indicated that a box culvert previously thought necessary would not be needed.

The city council approved the agreement with the inclusion of the optional items — namely three different trails and sidewalks — opting for safety improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists in the area.

The Bridge Street (Highway 24) project is in response to a steadily increasing number of collisions between Kerry Street and Poppy Street (County Road 72) in front of the St. Francis High School.

The project will involve adding a center median just east of Kerry Street through the intersection with Poppy Street and County Road 72 (Rum River Boulevard). The existing intersection at Poppy Street and Bridge Street will be reconstructed into a new roundabout, as will the intersection of Lake George Boulevard (Highway 9) and Bridge Street. The southern approach of Lake George Boulevard will be realigned, and a new city street will be built on the north side of Bridge Street to provide access to businesses and the high school. Kerry Street will be closed at its current location and reconnected to this new street.

The estimated construction cost of the total project is $3.12 million. Of that cost, federal funding will cover $1.5 million. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2015.