MnDOT Hwy 65 Study
MnDOT, in partnership with Anoka County and the cities of Blaine, Ham Lake, and Spring Lake Park, began a far reaching study in July 2018 of the Hwy 65 corridor. The study examined a range of cost effective roadway alternatives to address capacity, access, mobility, and safety issues between Bunker Lake Boulevard in Ham Lake and County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park.
A focus on planning and environmental analysis will speed the start of any future projects in the study area. This study included elements of the environmental process that will lead seamlessly into future projects which will shorten project development.
Results from previous studies along Highway 65 are out of date due to the increased business development and increases in population along the corridor. Previously developed solutions are too expensive to construct with current funding levels.
The study concluded in 2020.
Current Study Status
The major work on the study was completed in 2020. Now the study results are being used in the design work and for funding requests.
Current City Efforts
When the 2021 Minnesota legislative session came to an end earlier this summer the City of Blaine was awarded a $7 million grant to continue the design of improvements to Highway 65 at 99th Avenue, 109th Avenue, and 117th Avenue.
Highway 65 was the focus of a Planning and Environmental Linkages Study (PEL) from 2018-2020. The PEL looked at the highway from south of County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park all the way north past the Bunker Lake Boulevard intersection. The study divided the corridor into three segments with the middle section being the area from 99th Avenue to 117th Avenue.
The City of Blaine has taken the lead on the current project with support from Anoka County and MnDOT. The $7 million grant will complete the environmental review, a preliminary design of the full segment, and complete construction plans for the 99th Avenue intersection, the 109th Avenue intersection, and a new frontage road on the west side between these two roads. The goal is to make these projects shovel ready for federal transportation grant funding. The total cost for improvements to all three intersections will be more than $140 million.
The City of Blaine is actively pursuing construction funding for the intersections of city streets to Highway 65. The initial focus will be at 99th Avenue and the west frontage road to the north of 99th Avenue. The City has already secured over $12 million in grants toward this project. Construction could begin as early as the fall of 2022 on the frontage road pieces and 2024 for the intersection itself. Securing additional funding is still needed before the project can begin. The City will also be looking for additional final design and construction funding for the eventual 117th Avenue intersection improvements.
Anoka County is taking the lead on construction funding for the 109th Avenue intersection as this is a county road.
This project cannot be funded by the City and County alone. Additional funding will be required from both the State of Minnesota and the federal government. Blaine residents, business owners, and visitors can help by making sure elected officials at all levels of government know the importance of infrastructure improvements in Blaine on the Highway 65 corridor.