Ramsey receives state funds for Sunwood realignment

by Tammy Sakry
Staff Writer

A Ramsey road project just received a financial boost.

The city of Ramsey recently learned it will receive up to $500,000 to realign Sunwood Drive, expanding the road to four lanes, add a roundabout and a signal light at the Sunwood Drive/Armstrong Boulevard intersection. Source: City of Ramsey

The city of Ramsey will receive up to $500,000 in bond money for the Sunwood Drive realignment project from the state’s Routes of Regional Significance’s Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) for the 2012–2013 biennium.

The realignment project is estimated to cost $3.1 million.

The money is part of the $10 million the state Legislature approved last summer “for state transportation to assist local authorities in paying for constructing or reconstructing local road projects with statewide or regional significance,” said City Administrator Kurt Ulrich.

Ramsey had applied for funding for two road projects, the Sunwood Drive realignment and Riverdale Drive extension, which are both tied to the Armstrong Boulevard/Highway 10 interchange project.

To be eligible for the funding, the project has to be approved for construction contract by June 2013; it must qualify as regionally significant; must correct a transportation deficiency; and incorporate a safety strategy as part of the proposed improvement project.

The funding was capped at $500,000.

The project includes a roadway realignment of Sunwood Drive, reconstruction of two-lane Armstrong Boulevard to a four-lane divided roadway, adding dedicated turn lanes, a roundabout, raised medians and pedestrian amenities as well as the installation of a signal light at the intersection of Sunwood Drive and Armstrong Boulevard (CSAH 83).

“This project is being considered as an initial phase to advance construct portions of a future grade-separated interchange at Armstrong Boulevard and Highway 10,” said Ulrich.

It will enhance public safety response to the southern portion of the city, which is currently isolated due to the at-grade Burlington-Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) Railroad crossings and the 45,000 motorists that pass through Ramsey every day along Highway 10, he said.

“Both the city’s police and fire departments are located less than one mile from this location on the north side of Highway 10, and ambulance services that rely on Highway 10 to transport patients to nearby hospitals have no ability to cross the BNSF Railroad tracks during emergency situations, thus resulting in delays that could prove critical,” Ulrich said.

The road project will also be an enhancement to the city’s The COR project, a 400-acre transit oriented development.

“The new intersection… includes a traffic signal for improved capacity and access management at a consolidated ‘front door’ to The COR, thereby reducing congestion on the adjacent county roadway system,” Ulrich said.

“The proposed roadway alignment will also frame and create a prime development opportunity in this location and open up additional prospects for economic development initiatives.”

When the future Armstrong Boulevard/Highway 10 grade separated interchange is completed, the combined road projects will improve safety issues that exist in the area as well as serve as a long-term catalyst for economic development opportunities within the community and region, Ulrich said.

The project is expected to start in July and be completed in November.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]