Freeway Drive West (CSAH 54) Realignment from 3500 ft north of 147th Avenue to Lake Dr NE (CSAH 23)

Project Background/Description
Anoka County proposes the realignment of Freeway Drive West (CSAH 54) in Columbus from 3500 feet north of 147th Avenue to Lake Drive NE (CSAH 23) to relocate the intersection with Lake Drive out of the Lake Drive / I-35 interchange area. In 2011, Anoka County, the City of Columbus and MnDOT began a study to address traffic safety and traffic operations at the I-35 / Lake Drive interchange. This study was completed in the summer of 2013 and included several open house meetings with local residents to determine options for a future interchange. As part of this study, it was determined that Freeway Drive West (CSAH 54) would need to be realigned to provide more distance between its intersection with Lake Drive and the interchange regardless of which alternative was chosen. This project will provide that needed distance for the interchange reconstruction.

The realignment will provide one through lane in each direction, with a T-intersection approximately 1/4 mile south of Lake Drive. There will also be a partial access intersection approximately 600 feet south of Lake Drive.

Environmental Documents
Under Minnesota rules, Anoka County is the Responsible Governmental Unit (RGU) for this project. The proposed action was described and analyzed in an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW). The EAW was circulated to the EAW Distribution List and others. A Notice of Availability appeared in the EQB Monitor on June 26, 2017. The comment period closed July 26, 2017.
Environmental Assessment Worksheet (PDF)

 A thorough analysis of the project and its potential impacts was completed by Anoka County, in cooperation with the City of Columbus. Through its own analysis, coordination with affected agencies, public involvement, and comments received, Anoka County has determined that the proposed CSAH 54/W Freeway Drive Realignment Project as described in the EAW and the Findings of Fact and Conclusion (FOF&C) does not have the potential for significant environmental impact. 

On August 1, 2017, the Anoka County Engineer concluded that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is not required and on August 8, 2017, the Anoka County Board issued a resolution approving the issuance of a Negative Declaration Order for the project. This decision and determination is supported by the full administrative record of the project, including the FOF&C. The Negative Declaration concludes the Minnesota state environmental review process.

An electronic copy of the FOF&C document and other project related items is available here:

Findings of Fact and Conclusions (FOF&C) (PDF)

To request a hardcopy of the FOF&C document, please contact:
Jack Forslund, PTP
Anoka County Transportation Planner
Phone: 763-324-3179
Email Jack Forslund

 Provided below is an overview of the project schedule identifying key milestones in the process: 

  • Develop Geometric Layout - Winter 2016
  • Environmental Documentation - Summer/Fall 2016 
  • Environmental Review and Public Meeting - Fall 2016
  • Environmental Assessment Complete - Spring 2017
  • Final Design - Spring/Summer 2018
  • Construction - Spring 2019

Public Involvement / Meetings / Media
Various stakeholders, ranging from permitting agencies (I.e., Mn/DNR, Mn/DOT, Watershed Districts, etc.) to residents and property owners living or working along or near the roadway, have an interest in the development of the roadway project. The County recognizes that these interests vary in perspective. The County will use information provided by the various stakeholders when making decisions on final improvements. There are a number of activities which will occur throughout the design process that will allow for input from the various stakeholders. Agency and public involvement activities will include: 

  • Technical Advisory Committee Meetings (technical staff from the County and City of Columbus) 
  • Agency Coordination Meetings (technical staff from local, regional, and state agencies)
  • Presentations at City Council Meetings (Columbus)
  • Public Information Meetings (residents and property owners)
  • Public Hearing (residents, property owners and general public)

These activities will be scheduled throughout the project’s development. More information regarding the various activities is included below:

Technical Advisory Committee Meetings 
 Anoka County will assemble a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to provide input and feedback on the proposed project. Members of the TAC will include staff from Anoka County, the City of Columbus, and consultants conducting the environmental study for this project. The TAC will meet monthly to discuss various aspects of this project. The TAC members exchange technical and political information on the project between the governmental stakeholders. The TAC members report information to their various councils and/or boards and provide directives for action during the project’s development.

Agency Coordination Meetings 
 Throughout the project development process, various agencies will have concerns regarding resources that may be impacted due to the project. The County and City will meet with the individual agencies throughout the project development to gain an understanding of their concerns and work through possible mitigation strategies or design improvements necessary to reach a consensus.

Presentations at Council Meetings
 Anoka County staff will present project information at city council meetings and/or workshops to educate and solicit input from elected officials about the proposed project. 

Public Information Meetings
 Anoka County will provide informational materials and maps at Public Information Meetings that will be held throughout the course of the project. The County will inform the surrounding landowners of the upcoming meetings by mailing out individual meeting notices to property owners and residents within a half mile of the corridor. In addition, this website will also contain announcements of the upcoming meetings. The meetings will be an open house style format where County and city staff will interact with the public, answering questions and providing information as they look at various boards and maps of the proposed project. Comment cards will be provided to the public to use for written comments and can be completed either at the meeting or at home. Verbal and written comments gathered at the meetings will be reviewed by staff.

Open House 08/22/16 - Postcard (PDF)
Open House 09/19/17 - Postcard (PDF)
Open House February 8, 2018 - Postcard (PDF)

Handouts from Open House
Issues Map (PDF)
What is an EAW? (PDF)
Operations Table (PDF)

Current Layout (PDF)

As figures and other information become available, they will be posted on this website.

Project Contacts
If you have any questions about the proposed project or would like to comment on any aspect of the project, please contact any of the representatives below:

Elizabeth Markose, Engineer II
763-324-3116; Email Elizabeth Markose

Joe MacPherson, Assistant County Engineer
763-324-3119; Email Joe MacPherson

Jack Forslund; Transportation Planner
763-324-3179; Email Jack Forslund