Ham Lake agrees to costs for Bunker-Highway 65 project

The Ham Lake City Council May 7 approved a joint powers agreement (JPA) with Anoka County that spells out who is responsible for what in the reconstruction of the Highway 65 and Bunker Lake Boulevard intersection.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will be working on four different projects along Highway 65 in East Bethel and Ham Lake this year from June through December. This Highway 65-Bunker Lake Boulevard project is slated to begin in July and be done in November, according to MnDOT.

Additional turn lanes to improve the flow of traffic will be what motorists will notice the most. This includes a second left-turn lane for northbound Highway 65 traffic going west on Bunker Lake Boulevard and an extended southbound Highway 65 left-turn lane for traffic going east on Bunker. Both northbound lanes will be extended as well.

Traffic heading west on Bunker Lake Boulevard will get a second through lane very briefly until Johnson Street to accommodate two lanes of vehicles turning from northbound Highway 65.

Right-turn lanes will be added on Bunker Lake Boulevard at Johnson and Lincoln streets.

Having the second left-turn lane for people going west on Bunker will obviously help clear the left northbound Highway 65 lane a little quicker during the afternoon rush hour. That is not the only benefit though, according to MnDOT’s North Area Engineer Mark Lindeberg.

He said MnDOT could decrease the time that the left arrow stays green to help drivers heading south on Highway 65.

Anoka County Highway Engineer Doug Fischer told the city of Ham Lake’s road committee at its March 28 meeting that the county’s ultimate goal is to widen Bunker Lake Boulevard to four through lanes between Highway 65 and Jefferson Street. The county will be requesting funding for a possible 2017 project.

In the meantime, the reconstruction of the Highway 65-Bunker Lake Boulevard intersection area will be the extent of the work this summer and fall.

The construction costs

MnDOT is taking the lead on this project. According to the county and city’s development agreement, MnDOT has agreed to pay up to $594,000 for this project, which is now estimated to cost $704,575. The city’s construction contribution is slated to be $27,444 and the county would pick up the rest of the tab.

Most of Ham Lake’s construction costs can be attributed to the new traffic signal that will be installed at the conclusion of the project. The city will use Municipal State Aid (MSA) funding it receives from MnDOT. This money comes from the state gas tax.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]