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Road Rut: Richfield's 66th Street Not Scheduled for Repairs Until 2015-16

Hennepin County transportation department director weighs in on Richfield's county roads and the difficulty in replacing them

The Penn Central of Richfield neighborhood organization was visited by Hennepin County Director and County Engineer Jim Grube Thursday morning to address repairs the county intends to make to the city's county-owned roads.

While there are , Grube said one the county has designated for repair is 66th Street, which is scheduled to take place in the 2015-16 time frame.

Richfield City asked if the project could be pushed up and said, "I'm not sure 66th [Street] is going to survive three more years."

Grube said there's a fine line the county walks once a road project is entered as a Capital Improvement Project (CIP), which takes its funding from different sources than a typical county road project. He went on to say that it's matter of getting the funding, having the engineering capacity to do the design and meeting with those who use the road to further the design. CIP projects are funded by the county's general operating budget, which consists of property taxes, state and federal dollars, as well as other fees

Meanwhile, the remainder of Richfield's county roads—such as Penn, Nicollet and Portland Avenues—will have to wait.

"The other ones we'll have to see because there's a heavy competition for the dollar between the 45 cities and I don't have enough to go around," Grube said. "I cannot say with certainty when the other ones are coming up. I've got roads that are just as bad up in Brooklyn Center, in St. Louis Park, all around the county . . . These roads were built maybe 40 to 50 years ago and there time is up, they should be there but there are so many other miles of roads that it just doesn't automatically go to Richfield."

He said it costs the county approximately $1.5-2 million to replace one lane mile and the county should be replacing about 40 lane miles a year. Unfortunately, he said the county simply doesn't have the funds to meet those costs. Currently, the county is able to replace about 10-15 lane miles with the current budget, which is all its roughly $30 million budget can handle for all for road repair, replacement and new construction.

Grube said the county road infrastructure needs has always been greater than the amount of money they county has had and funding continues to be a challenge.

The money for roads comes from state gas tax, the tax on license plate registrations and the sales tax on vehicle sales, which totals to its $30 million budget.

He also said that as the population in Hennepin County continues to grow, its infrastructure grows as does the number of roads its responsible for maintaining. Cities like Plymouth and Maple Grove will build roads and then turn them over to the county to maintain.

While many county road repairs in Richfield aren't even on the schedule yet, the county will continue to repair dips and bumps.

Penn Central of Richfield's next meeting is July 21.

Mary C Martin June 21, 2011 at 05:28 AM
66th Street has been the detour/other route to use when Crosstown was being worked on, when the 76th Street bridge had to come down, when Lyndale couldn't get over 494 due to bridge work and any other time the gridlock occurs near us. The RR crossing is incredibly horrible--soon the tracks will be totally exposed with nothing to support them. Why can't the RR be asked to fix that part? Why are we digging at the corner of 66th & Lyndale eastbound? Come on--if there's not enough money, why are so many projects underway everywhere? What about all those gas companies who are making such huge profits helping out? What about the airlines who are gouging with all their fees helping out? The roads need to be in better shape for everyone. M. Martin
Stefanie Carano June 22, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Thanks, Mary.

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