161st Avenue (Armstrong to Variolite) IP 23-01

Construction Update

Update May 26, 2023

To date the Contractor has installed pre-construction erosion control, 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 5th.

Updated May 12, 2023

During the week of May 8th, the Contractor 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 will be modified as construction requires.

The Contractor had initially planned to reclaim the pavement and begin utility installation within the first 2 weeks of the project, however, a delay in the concrete structures has pushed those activities back. Reclamation is now proposed for the week of May 22nd, and utility installation will occur after the Memorial Day holiday.

During the week of May 15th, the Contractor is proposing to perform tree removals. Trees proposed to be removed are all located with City-owned right of way and easements and are marked with blue flagging tape.

Project Update

Updated 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 in the amount of $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 construction the improvements. The purpose of the pre-construction meeting is to review the Contractor’s proposed construction schedule, to share contact information, to review the status of permits, and discuss relevant construction related procedures, processes, and requirements.

Project Schedule:

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 eastern half of 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 normal working hours. Access to driveways may be restricted up to 7 days where concrete curb and gutter is being installed and at concrete driveway aprons which are being 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

Private lawn irrigation systems and inground invisible dog fences may be impacted by this work. Relocating and/or repairing systems within public right of ways as needed to accommodate construction is the responsibility of the property owner. 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 2nd floor at the above address. To help ensure that your system will not be damaged during this project, please relocate sprinkler heads and other system components located within the construction limits, which City Staff will locate for you upon request.


For questions related to construction of the project, including special access needs or concerns, please contact Aaron Madsen, the City’s Senior Construction Inspector, at (763) 286-2579 or AMadsen@CityofRamsey.com.

For questions related to the project in general, please contact Joe Feriancek, Assistant City Engineer, at (763) 433-9893 or JFeriancek@CityofRamsey.com.

Updated 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 in Finance & Commerce. The City bids all improvement projects online through the Quest CDN website. The website will also make 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 power point presentation from that meeting may be seen on this webpage under Related Documents.

Updated February 15, 2023

A public information meeting has been scheduled and will occur from 5:30-7:00 pm on Thursday, March 9th, 2023, at the Central Park, Park Center Building located at 7925 - 161st Avenue NW Ramsey. A letter has been sent to all property owners that are impacted by this project. View the letter that was sent out.


City Improvement Project 23-01 proposes to reconstruct 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 up to 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. Staff has received the survey, which is used during project design. At this same City Council meeting, a geotechnical report proposal from Haugo Geotechnical Services was accepted. 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, with a goal of minimizing 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 as part of this project. Project selection is finalized Friday, March 24, 2023, and award letters are distributed to selected projects at that time. If awarded and accepted, the funds cover only construction costs associated with the pedestrian and bicycle facility construction, reimbursed per the awarded lowest responsible bid. If not awarded, Municipal State Aid (MSA) funds are proposed to be used as the funding source for the improvements.

Project Scope

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 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 full build out. Based off these, and the quality of subsoil found in the geotechnical report, the required pavement section will be approximately 9 inches thick; 5 inches new bituminous pavement and 4 inches aggregate base. These numbers will be confirmed during project design 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 is proposing to add 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 standards as well as ADA standards.

Municipal water and sanitary sewer utility exist at the intersection of 161st Avenue and Variolite Street. These utilities need to 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 not within 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 depth of pipe. 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 will be performed in their area. View the letter that was sent out.

On August 25, 2022, residents impacted by the 161st Avenue Reconstruction project were sent project notification letter #2 including notice that a geotechnical crew will be performing soil borings in the area. View the letter that was sent out.

Staff encourages impacted residents to contact us with questions or input regarding this project. Please email Assistant City Engineer, Joe Feriancek, reach out by phone at 763-433-9893.