161st Avenue (Armstrong to Variolite) IP 23-01
September 13, 2023
To date the Contractor has completed all major construction items, and this project is now considered substantially complete. In the coming weeks City Staff will be working with the Contractor to create a punch list of minor items that may need to be addressed. Once turf has been established in disturbed boulevard areas, the remaining erosion control will be pulled.
August 31, 2023
During the week of August 28, the Contractor paved the southern Central Park parking lot, bituminous trail, and the final lift of bituminous along 161st Avenue. Most of the black dirt has been placed in the disturbed boulevard areas, but additional work is still needed.
The Contractor still needs to place the remaining concrete pedestrian ramps at the trail crossing locations, though this still has not been scheduled. The ramp locations will be closed until the concrete cures, which takes 5 – 7 days. The remaining work includes final restoration of the boulevard areas, including final grading and spraying seed and hydro-mulch. Additionally, the pavement markings will be placed. After restoration is complete, City crews will re-place the street signs along the corridor.
August 10, 2023
On August 14-17, the Contractor is proposing to complete the remaining concrete work on the project. This includes a concrete valley gutter across 161st Avenue at Variolite Street. The closure is necessary to allow the newly poured concrete time to cure and gain strength before being opened to traffic. Residents will be able to use Armstrong Boulevard to access 161st Avenue.
Also, during August 14-17, additional concrete work on the project includes pouring the second Central Park entrance and PACT entrance. As well as the new ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps as part of the new trail along the north side of 161st Avenue.
On August 9, the Contractor placed the first lift of bituminous along 161st Avenue. The road will remain closed to through traffic. Construction activities are still ongoing. For the remainder of this week, the Contractor will work on grading the southern Central Park Parking Lot.
July 18, 2023
The Contractor will be performing the following:
- Spreading the gravel between the road section between Armstrong Boulevard and Variolite Street. This is anticipated to occur by July 21.
- Installation of new concrete curb and gutter and concrete driveways between Armstrong Boulevard and Variolite Street. This is currently scheduled to happen on July 24 and 25. Please note that concrete needs up to 7 days to gain strength before it can be driven across.
- Grade, shape, and compaction of aggregate base. This can occur after the concrete has been placed and sufficiently cured to work next to it.
- Installation of the first lift of bituminous pavement. This project includes two lifts of bituminous pavement. After the first lift, the contractor will place the topsoil and restore the turf. It’s anticipated for the first lift to occur by mid-August.
Access to Properties
During construction, access to driveways and streets may be partially or fully restricted during regular working hours. Access to driveways may be restricted for up to seven days, where concrete curb and gutter are installed, and concrete driveway aprons are removed and replaced. This will allow the new concrete section adequate time to cure. During these times, walk-on access will be maintained to all properties by the end of each work day. If you have special access needs during construction, please contact us as soon as possible so we can work to accommodate your needs.
A letter was mailed to the residents who are impacted by this project. It can be viewed here.
June 30, 2023
The Contractor has installed the sanitary sewer from Variolite Street west past Xenolith Street. The storm sewer for the eastern pond at 161st Avenue and Xenolith Street intersection has also been installed.
CenterPoint has installed approximately 800 feet of the new 4-inch gas line along the south side of 161st Avenue, across from Central Park. This gas line was required to avoid conflict with the new storm sewer installed in the reconstruction project.
Beginning July 5, the Contractor will install the new storm sewer pipe from the western pond, across from Central Park, up to 161st Avenue. The remaining storm sewer improvements along 161st Avenue will occur in Late July. Additionally, the Contractor proposed to complete the sanitary sewer and watermain installation on July 8.
During the week of July 10, the Contractor will start placing the aggregate base, generally beginning at Variolite Street and working towards Armstrong Boulevard. 161st Avenue at Variolite Street will remain closed until the aggregate base is installed.
June 16, 2023
During the week of June 12, the Contractor focused on project grading. The mass grading for the western pond is complete, and final restoration, including seeding, will occur soon. Mass grading on the eastern pond is primarily done. The contractor is using material from the east pond to assist with grading the new trail on the north side of 161st Avenue between Variolite Street and Armstrong Boulevard. The trail grading has also started and is anticipated to be completed next week.
During the week of June 19, the Contractor will begin installing utilities, starting with sanitary sewer. This will require 161st Avenue to be entirely closed for traffic between Variolite Street and Xenolith Street. Access to 161st Avenue during utility installation will be from Armstrong Boulevard. The Contractor will remove the reclamation material between Variolite Street and Xenolith. This material will be stockpiled at the Central Park southern parking lot. The sanitary sewer connection will be made first at Variolite Street and constructed to the west. The connection is approximately 18 feet deep and requires the entire width of 161st Avenue to excavate safely.
June 10, 2023
During the week of June 5, the Contractor began excavating the western stormwater pond and hauling the excess material.
During the week of June 12, the Contractor will complete the excavation of the western stormwater pond and begin the excavation of the eastern stormwater pond. Restoration of the ponds with topsoil, seed, and blanket will occur within the next couple of weeks after fine grading is complete. The Contractor is currently proposing to begin utility installation during the week of June 19.
May 26, 2023
The Contractor has installed pre-construction erosion control and tree protection fencing and has performed tree removals. The Contractor has provided the City with an updated project schedule and currently proposes to perform pavement reclamation and project removals during the week of June 5.
May 12, 2023
During the week of May 8, the Contractor will begin work on the site. This included placing initial erosion control silt fence and tree protection fencing. The erosion control will be maintained throughout the project and modified as construction requires.
The Contractor had initially planned to reclaim the pavement and begin utility installation within the project's first two weeks. However, a delay in the concrete structures has pushed those activities back. Reclamation is now proposed for the week of May 22, and utility installation will occur after the Memorial Day holiday.
During the week of May 15, the Contractor is proposing to perform tree removals. The trees proposed to be removed are all located with City-owned right of way and easements and are marked with blue flagging tape.
May 5, 2023
On April 25, 2023, the Ramsey City Council awarded the construction contract for this street reconstruction project to Northern Lines Contracting, Inc. of Hanover, Minnesota, for $1,244,237.29. These improvements will be funded using a combination of Municipal State Aid (MSA) Funds, Stormwater Utility Funds, Sanitary Sewer Utility Funds, Water Utility Funds, and Park Improvement Trust Funds. Portions of the Sanitary Sewer Utility Funds and Water Utility Funds will be reimbursed through the PACT Charter development agreement. Property owners will not be assessed for any portion of this project. An update letter has been mailed to property owners with updates on the project status. It may be viewed here.
Pre-construction Meeting Update:
On May 4, 2023, the City held a pre-construction meeting with Northern Lines Contracting, the Contractor constructing the improvements. The purpose of the pre-construction meeting is to review the Contractor’s proposed construction schedule, share contact information, check the status of permits, and discuss relevant construction-related procedures, processes, and requirements.
Northern Lines Contracting discussed the following main construction processes and preliminary schedule with the City:
Week Process (duration)
May 8 Place erosion control and tree protection fencing (2 days)
- Clearing and grubbing of trees (4 days)
- Removals, including reclamation of the existing bituminous section (4 days)
- Preparing the eastern half of the project subgrade for utility excavation (4 days)
May 15 Grading, including excavation of the stormwater ponding areas (15 days)
May 22 Utility installation, including sanitary sewer and watermain from Variolite Street past PACT Charter High School. Storm sewer at the low points in the road into the ponds (15 days)
June 12 Subgrade preparation and hauling in aggregate base class 5 (15 days)
July 5 Place concrete curb and gutter (5 days)
July 17 Tolerance gravel, final base preparation for new pavement (5 days)
July 24 Place new bituminous pavement (5 days)
July 31 Restore the disturbed boulevard areas, place final lift of bituminous (15 days)
These process timelines are estimates, and some may overlap or expand.
Access to Property
During construction, access to driveways and streets may be partially restricted during regular working hours. Access to driveways may be restricted for up to seven days, where concrete curb and gutter are installed, and concrete driveway aprons are removed and replaced. This will allow the new concrete section adequate time to cure. During these ties, walk-on access will be maintained to all properties by the end of each workday. If you have special access needs during construction, please contact the City project representatives as soon as possible so we can work to accommodate your needs.
Irrigation / Invisible Fences
This work may impact private lawn irrigation systems and in-ground invisible dog fences. Relocating and/or repairing systems within the public right of ways as needed to accommodate construction is the property owner's responsibility. If you have a below-ground irrigation system or invisible fence, please mark your pipes, wires, and/or sprinkler heads with flags or stakes to assist the Contractor in preventing or minimizing damage to your system during construction. Free flags are available at the Engineering Department in the Ramsey Municipal Center located on the second floor at the above address. To help protect your system during this project, please relocate sprinkler heads and other system components within the construction limits, which City Staff will locate for you upon request.
March 31, 2023
On March 14, 2023, the Ramsey City Council approved the final plans and specifications and authorized advertisement for bids for the 161st Avenue Reconstruction project. Bids were advertised on Friday, March 17, and again on Friday, March 24, 2023, in the Anoka Union Herald and Finance & Commerce. The City bids on all improvement project online through the Quest CDN website. The website will also take notice of the proposed project to contractors.
An update letter has been mailed to property owners with updates on the project status. It may be viewed here.
On Thursday, March 9, 2023, a public information meeting was held for these improvements. The purpose of this meeting was to present information on the proposed project to owners of the properties that directly access 161st Avenue. The Powerpoint presentation from that meeting may be seen on this webpage under Related Documents.
February 15, 2023
A public information meeting has been scheduled from 5:30-7:00 pm on March 9, 2023, at the Central Park, Park Center Building located at 7925 161st Avenue NW Ramsey. A letter has been sent to all property owners impacted by this project. View the letter that was sent out.
City Improvement Project 23-01 proposes reconstructing 161st Avenue between Armstrong Boulevard (CSAH 83) and Variolite Street. The street totals approximately 2,680 lineal feet (0.51 miles) in length and is a 29-foot-wide urban section with bituminous curbing. No parking is allowed on either side of the street. This reconstruction project is being pushed until 2023 to avoid reconstructing the street after PACT Charter School opens.
On April 12, 2022, the Ramsey City Council accepted a proposal for a topographic survey of the project area from Bolton & Menk. The staff has received the survey, which is used during project design. This City Council meeting accepted a geotechnical report proposal from Haugo Geotechnical Services. The report indicated generally good soils for street and utility construction.
On June 21, 2022, the Ramsey Public Works Committee (PWC) reviewed bicycle and pedestrian facilities as part of the 161st Avenue Street Reconstruction. The PWC recommended extending a trail along 161st Avenue, generally located north of the boulevard trees within Central Park, to minimize tree impacts and existing park facilities along the entire corridor.
On July 12, 2022, the Ramsey City Council approved the site plan, preliminary plan, and final plat for PACT Addition and PACT Charter School. This included a traffic impact study of both the proposed PACT Charter School and a future Saint Katherine Drexel Church site at the corner of 161st Avenue and Variolite Street. The study indicated no additional improvements are needed on the local streets to accommodate the proposed developments.
On August 23, 2022, the Ramsey City Council ordered Staff to prepare plans and specifications for Improvement Project #23-01, 161st Avenue Reconstruction.
On October 11, 2022, the Ramsey City Council Authorized Staff to apply for between $50,000 and $500,000 in funding through the Minnesota Active Transportation State Infrastructure Program to construct off-street facilities between Armstrong Boulevard and Variolite Street as part of the 161st Avenue Reconstruction project. Staff estimates $65,000 for the bituminous trail construction costs for this project. Project selection is finalized Friday, March 24, 2023, and award letters are distributed to selected projects. If awarded and accepted, the funds cover only construction costs associated with the pedestrian and bicycle facility construction, reimbursed according to the lowest responsible bid. If not awarded, Municipal State Aid (MSA) funds are proposed to be used as the funding source for the improvements.
161st Avenue is a Municipal State Aid (MSA) street and must be designed to MSA standards. Staff is proposing to generally leave the street at the current 29-foot width but replace the bituminous curb with a concrete curb and gutter. The street will also be required to meet an MSA 10-ton pavement strength design standard. As of 2021, 161st Avenue has an Average Daily Vehicle (ADT) count of 1,000. The Traffic Impact Study performed for the PACT Charter School estimated a future 2,500 ADT at complete build-out. Based on these and the quality of subsoil found in the geotechnical report, the required pavement section will be approximately 9 inches thick, with 5 inches of new bituminous pavement and 4 inches of aggregate base. During project design, these numbers will be confirmed when Staff determines the most cost-effective pavement section/build method. Due to replacing the bituminous curb with concrete curb and gutter, Staff anticipated some impacts to existing driveways and boulevards along 161st Avenue within the existing city-owned right of way.
The project proposes adding a 10-foot-wide bituminous trail along the north side of 161st Avenue. This trail will connect to the existing pedestrian landing built with the 2020 Variolite Street reconstruction and the existing crossing at Armstrong Boulevard. All trail improvements will be required to meet MSA and ADA standards.
Municipal water and sanitary sewer utility exist at the intersection of 161st Avenue and Variolite Street. These utilities must be extended to the west to connect PACT Charter School to the system. The utility extension will stop at Central Park. The residential properties south of 161st Avenue are outside the MUSA and are not proposed to receive water and sewer services with this project.
Stormwater runoff is currently handled through curb cuts and swales to existing ponding areas located in drainage and utility easements on the south side of 161st Avenue. The project will replace the curb cuts with storm sewer inlets and connecting piping, removing the hazards of stormwater runoff crossing the street on the pavement. This switch to storm sewer inlets will require the existing ponding areas to be excavated an additional 4 to 6 feet to accommodate the pipe depth. The storm sewer is proposed to handle the 161st Avenue corridor and existing drainage areas. No accommodations for PACT Charter or a future Saint Katherine Drexel development are being proposed.
Funding for this improvement is proposed to come from the MSA Fund ($637,000), Storm Sewer Utility Fund ($220,000), Water Utility Fund ($94,000), and Sanitary Sewer Utility Fund ($75,000) for a total estimated project cost of $1,026,000. Portions of the water and sanitary sewer costs will be reimbursed as part of the PACT Charter development.
Property owners will not be assessed for any of the costs for these improvements.
On April 21, 2022, residents impacted by the 161st Avenue Reconstruction project were sent a project notification letter, including notice that a topographic survey would be performed in their area. View the letter that was sent out.
On August 25, 2022, residents impacted by the 161st Avenue Reconstruction were sent a second project notification letter, including notice that a geotechnical crew would be performing soil borings in the area. View the letter that was sent out.