Updated: 07/03/2013 7:13 PM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson
Photo: MGN Online
A busy and dangerous stretch of road in Anoka County is about to get some upgrades.
Anoka County received a $10 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to improve key interchanges along U.S. Highway 10 at County Road 83 in the city of Ramsey.
The money comes as part of the Corridor Investment Management Strategy program.
According to the county, a 2002 study determined Highway 10 needed to be converted to a freeway facility. Since then, the interchange has been deemed a “high priority” by Anoka County, MnDOT, the Metropolitan Council and the city of Ramsey.
Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah said in a statement that one of the problems has been emergency responders getting caught on the wrong side of the railroad tracks when responding to emergency calls.
"We have video footage of cops cars that are stuck while trains are going by, and it's the old adage -- "When seconds count, cops are minutes away.' Well, sometimes it's more than minutes," said Matt Look, an Anoka County Commissioner.
County officials say there are also many safety concerns at the intersection and that crash and severity rates at the intersection are higher than the statewide average for similar areas.
"These cars are coming at 60 miles per hour, and there's cars parked at a dead stop on the highway. So this is a major concern," Look said.
The money will be used to construct an interchange at Highway 10 and County Road 83, which includes a grade separation of the BNSF Railroad, widening of County Road 83, alternatives for bikers and pedestrians, and more.
But even with the new grant, Anoka County is left $9 million short on a project estimated to cost a total of $35 million.
"We're pursuing every option possible to find the necessary funding to get this done," Look said.
Look said the county hopes to break ground on the project at the end of 2014.