Anoka County Highway Department is requesting federal money to work on seven projects through the Metropolitan Council’s regional solicitation process. The council administers the solicitation process every year for federal aid, transit, highway and trail projects.
Anoka County Board’s Transportation Committee did sign off on the recommended projects for the highway department in Coon Rapids, Ham Lake, Ramsey, Andover and Anoka. If funding is approved it would be available for the 2018-2019 fiscal years. Here is a look at the projects.
The goal is to reconstruct and expand the area of Bunker Lake Boulevard from Jefferson Street to Highway 65. They want to improve safety and capacity on Coon Rapids Boulevard from Avocet St to Hanson Blvd.
They’d like to improve 7th Avenue at 28th Avenue and the entrance of Anoka High School due to it being a complicated intersection. They’d like to reconstruct Foley Blvd from Coon Rapids Blvd to East River Rd that would include a bridge at the railroad tracks.
Other projects requested include:
- Reconstruction of Hanson Blvd from 189th Ave to Crosstown Blvd
- Grade separation on Ramsey Blvd at the railway tracks of Burlington-Northern Santa Fe Railway
- Safety improvements at Northdale Blvd in front of Coon Rapids High School where parking takes place at the school
All of these projects are needed due to safety concerns and future traffic. While there is $150 million available for metro projects, it has to be divided into roadways, transit, bike or pedestrian. Since changes have been made in the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board, 48%-68% of money will go to road projects, 22%-33% to transit and 10%-20% to bike and pedestrian needs.
They are working around the rules by making road reconstruction projects also include bike and pedestrian trails and the two bridge projects to come across railroad tracks. They’re also showing how the 7th Avenue project and Northdale project is going to improve safety of pedestrians.
The issue to Anoka County is that there is an overemphasis on trails and transit when really road infrastructure is in dangerous conditions with limited funding available. They want to allocate funds where there are safety issues first and foremost.