A third lane on a portion of Snelling Avenue is one of a package of transportation improvements coming down the road to the north and east metro areas.

A unit of the Metropolitan Council approved the Snelling Avenue project along with nearly 60 others across the metro area costing more than $400 million, with funds to be spent in 2020-21.

Roseville is in line to get a third northbound lane on Snelling between County Road B2 and Lydia Avenue, with the federal government covering $2.7 million of the $3.4 million cost.

In a statement, Roseville Mayor Dan Roe said the additional lane will especially help at the County Road C and Snelling intersection, considered a big trouble spot. Traffic studies give Snelling Avenue an F grade during the peak of the evening commute where it crosses both Lydia and County Road C.

The panel also approved new or reconstructed interchanges, including Rice Street at Interstate 694 and Manning Avenue at Hwy. 36; new roadway grade separations including an overpass at the BNSF Railway tracks and Foley Boulevard in Coon Rapids; a Hwy. 10 underpass at Fairoak Avenue in Anoka; work on rapid busways across the metro area that includes a future route on Lake Street/Marshall Avenue in Minneapolis and St. Paul; and expansions of local and regional trails that includes St. Paul’s Grand Round.

Further approvals are still needed, but the initial choices are considered the key step in the process.

David Peterson

Brooklyn Park

Concerns raised about immigration actions

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s efforts to impose restrictions on immigration and sanctuary cities, phone calls from worried residents have poured in to leaders and community organizers in Brooklyn Park, one of the state’s most diverse cities.

“In the last two weeks, I’ve probably gotten 100-plus calls,” Mayor Jeff Lunde said Tuesday.

Responding to those concerns, Lunde penned a letter that he posted on the city’s website earlier this month. In the letter, which describes Brooklyn Park’s population as 20 percent immigrant, Lunde writes that the City Council “has not declared the city as a sanctuary city.” But he adds that police generally will not ask for someone’s immigration status.

“Our police don’t enforce immigration law,” Lunde said in an interview Tuesday. Sanctuary cities agree not to prosecute violation of federal immigration laws or ask people about their immigrant status.

In recent weeks, a grass-roots effort has also resulted in several meetings at City Hall where residents can voice concerns over Trump’s executive orders. Several community groups, including African Immigrant Services, have taken the lead in organizing the gatherings, officials said.

“There’s a lot of fear and distrust about what this all means for families,” said Council Member Susan Pha.

The next public meeting, which will offer informational and legal resources, is planned for 5:45 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 5200 85th Av. N.

Hannah Covington


Dismissal upheld in swimming death suit

A Washington County district judge didn’t improperly dismiss a lawsuit filed by the father of a boy who died of a parasite while swimming in a Stillwater lake, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has ruled.

The decision, drafted by Judge Diane Bratvold, rejected Jim Ariola’s argument that the city of Stillwater should have known of the biological dangers of Lily Lake and closed the city beach to swimming. His 9-year-old son, Jack, died of the Naegleria fowleri brain infection in August 2012, two years after 7-year-old Annie Bahneman of Stillwater died of the same infection after swimming in the lake.

The lawsuit never proved that Stillwater officials “had actual knowledge of a danger,” Bratvold wrote, affirming the April 2016 dismissal by District Judge Susan Miles. Bratvold’s ruling means that the dismissal by Miles will stand.

Kevin Giles

Grey Cloud Island

New bridge will replace earthen causeway

Landwehr Construction, Inc., will rebuild the County Road 75 bridge to Grey Cloud Island after the Washington County Board approved a $1.6 million contract with the company last week.

The board also approved a cooperative agreement with the South Washington Watershed District for the project.

Work includes replacing a decades-old earthen causeway over a back channel of the Mississippi River. County Engineer Wayne Sandberg said a new bridge will improve water quality in the channel, known locally as a slough.

A wooden bridge was built to connect the mainland to Grey Cloud Island in the early 1900s. Culverts replaced the bridge in 1923. During flooding in the 1960s, an emergency road was built over the culverts.

The new bridge will be owned and maintained by the county.

Kevin Giles