Foley Boulevard is one of the busiest corridors in Coon Rapids, both for vehicular traffic and trains.
As many a 4,000 vehicles a day travel along the segment between East River Road and Coon Rapids Boulevard. Before the pandemic, about 70 Metro Transit buses and nearly 900 vehicles every weekday entered or exited a park-and-ride lot using a driveway on Foley.
All that movement is interrupted many times a day when passing freight and passenger trains crossing Foley bring traffic to a halt, further exacerbating congestion and backups.
It's all about to be fixed.
This summer, the Anoka County Highway Department will start work on a project that includes building a bridge to take motorists on Foley up and over the state's busiest rail line. A curve in the four-lane road near the Foley Park and Ride will be removed and the road straightened as it approaches East River Road.
The $25 million project will take about two seasons, said Joe MacPherson, an Anoka County engineer. But the good news for drivers is that construction won't have an adverse affect on traffic flow at the outset. Foley will stay open.
"We can maintain traffic until we need to tie into the new alignment," MacPherson said.
That's not to say drivers won't feel any effects right away. One part of the project includes installing a raised center median to separate traffic along the four-lane road and putting in new or longer turn lanes. Another part includes moving the entrance to the park and ride slightly to the east and installing a new traffic signal, which should make it easier for buses and those who ride them to get in and out of the facility, said Metro Transit spokesman George Serumgard.
The driveway has to be moved to allow for proper grading of Foley. As a result, the boarding platform will be shifted to a more central location on the property, new shelters will be added and some additional parking spots will be put in, all at the county's expense. The fast exit lane buses use to get to Hwy. 610 will be maintained.
"For pedestrians, cars and buses, all that's going to change is how they get in and out," Serumgard said.
Metro Transit will continue full bus service during the work and "we will have adequate parking during construction," he said.
The Foley redo includes an ADA-compliant trail on the north side of Foley and a sidewalk on the south side. The county also will improve traffic signals at intersections at Coon Rapids Boulevard and East River Road.
The bridge project has been in the works for several years, MacPherson said, and the county is glad to finally get to it.
"This is for better traffic flow and [to] reduce the potential for injuries or fatalities," MacPherson said. "It is a priority of Anoka County to make intersections safer."
Traffic light on Northdale Blvd.
Coon Rapids recently installed a new traffic light on Northdale Boulevard near the entrance to Menards and Costco. The city also installed new medians at the intersection.
About 16,000 vehicles use Northdale Boulevard each day, making it a hot spot for congestion, according to the city.
The traffic signal is part of a broader plan to improve traffic flow in the busy Riverdale shopping area, the city said.
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