The city of Anoka has awarded a nearly $50 million contract to Shafer Contracting Co. Inc. for construction of the “Anoka Solution” project that will remove traffic signals on Highway 10 in the city.
The Shafer-based company was the lowest of five bidders, with the highest coming in at $57.3 million. The engineer’s estimate was $58 million.
Work includes total reconstruction of U.S. Highway 10/169 from Anoka’s border with Ramsey to 1,100 feet west of the Ferry Street interchange. Crews will remove the traffic lights at Thurston and Fairoak Avenues. They will create a grade-separated roundabout interchange at Thurston and an underpass at Fairoak. The Main Street interchange will also be reconstructed, and frontage roads will be built on the north and south side of the highway.
Major construction is slated to begin in March next year, with substantial completion scheduled for January 2024.
The Anoka Solution project dates back to a 2014 study that identified major improvements needed along Highway 10. In 2015 the city of Anoka did further analysis, and in 2016 the city agreed to take the lead on the project and committed $2 million toward it.
Including design and other costs, the project is now expected to cost about $73.4 million, down from more than $80 million previously estimated.
Other funding sources include $1.8 million from Anoka Municipal Electric and $4 million from Anoka County, as well as money from state and federal sources.
Council Member Jeff Weaver said the project wouldn’t be where it is without the leadership of City Manager Greg Lee, who recommended the city take the lead on the project.
“That’s a legacy,” Weaver said. “That’s a game changer.”
Lee said the project was going to happen at some point, but the thought was to “be the bat instead of the ball.”
“That’s really what the difference is here, a small community like ours taking on a s$74 million project and making it ours, something that fits into our community,” Lee said, adding that the model is being replicated elsewhere, including for a planned project along Highway 10 in Ramsey.
Council Member Brian Wesp acknowledged that getting around “is going to be frustrating around here for a couple years,” but he said the final product will allow residents of Anoka to move around the area more easily and will also benefit many other Minnesotans.
The council unanimously approved awarding the contract to Shafer Oct. 4.