Hanson Blvd (CSAH 78) Railroad Grade Separation

Project Background/Description

The Anoka County Highway Department, in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and City of Coon Rapids, is planning to reconstruct Anoka County State Aid Highway 78 (CSAH 78)/Hanson Boulevard to a four-lane divided section that is grade separated from the Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) railroad. CSAH 78 is an important north-south route providing mobility and access through Anoka County and the city of Coon Rapids. Approximately 12,500 vehicles per day use CSAH 78, including a Metro Transit bus route and emergency responders such as medical and fire. Additionally, approximately 81 trains per day, comprised of freight, Northstar Commuter traffic and Amtrak rail traffic, use the BNSF rail line. The high competing volumes of vehicles and rail make this at-grade crossing one of the busiest in the state and long queues and delays for vehicles are frequently observed at this crossing. To further add to the problem, BNSF plans to add a third track to accommodate the growing demands of freight traffic and commuter rail traffic in the future.

Project Documents
Feasibility Study (PDF)
Updated Layout (PDF)
Current Layout (as of 01/10/18) (PDF)

Public Information Meetings
March 23, 2016 - Open House Postcard (PDF)
March 23, 2016 - Open House Presentation (PDF)
March 23, 2016 - Layout (PDF)
March, 2016 - Monthly Newsletter (PDF)
April, 2016 - Monthly Newsletter (PDF)
June 15, 2016 - Open House Postcard (PDF)
June 15, 2016 - Open House Presentation (PDF)
June 15, 2016 - Layout (PDF)
October, 2016 - Monthly Newsletter (PDF)

February 22, 2018 - Open House Postcard (PDF)

 Project Highlights and Benefits

Project Highlights

  • Delay for Drivers: Crossing is often blocked for 6 to 8 minutes at a time (best case scenario), or up to 25 minutes at a time
  • Rail Freight Traffic: Busiest segment of rail line in the state: 81 trains/day on average including freight, Amtrak, and
  • Northstar Commuter Rail trains. Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway plans to add a third track to accommodate
  • increased freight traffic, which will increase delays for vehicles
  • Safety: This crossing has one of the highest exposure rates (high potential for crashes to occur) in the state due to high
  • traffic volumes competing with the high volume of trains
  • High Priority Project: The project is the Number 1 Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) funding priority for grade
  • separation and is supported by the State of Minnesota, Anoka County, and City of Coon Rapids, as well as Governor
  • Mark Dayton and the MN State Legislature. Project Construction anticipated to start in spring of 2017.

Project Benefits

  • Improved safety by separating vehicle and rail traffic
  • Reduced vehicle delay
  • Improved response time for emergency services
  • Improved safety and mobility for pedestrians and bicyclists


  • Preliminary and Final Design - February - December, 2016
  • First Public Information Meeting - March 23, 2016
  • Right-of-Way Acquisition - April 2016 - May 2017
  • Construction - Spring 2017
  • Project Schedule (PDF)

Public Information / Meetings / Media

Various stakeholders, ranging from permitting agencies (i.e., MnDNR, MnDOT, Watershed Districts, etc.) to residents and property owners living or working along or near the roadway, have an interest in the development of this 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 through the design process that will allow for input from the various stakeholders. Agency and public involvement activities will include:

Project Management Team Meetings (technical staff from the County and City of Coon Rapids)
Agency Coordination Meetings (technical staff from local, regional, state and federal agencies)
Presentations at City Council Meetings
Public Information Meetings (residents and property owners)

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

Project Management Team Meetings
The County will assemble a Project Management Team (PMT) to provide input and feedback on the proposed project. Members of the PMT will include staff from Anoka County, City of Coon Rapids, and the consultant performing preliminary and final design for this project. The PMT meets monthly to discuss various aspects of this project. The PMT members exchange technical and political information on the project between the governmental stakeholders. The PMT 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 Cities 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
To keep the public up to date on the design process, a comprehensive public involvement process will be completed. Anoka County will provide informational materials and maps at Public Information Meetings that will be held through 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. This website will also contain announcements of the upcoming meetings. The meetings will be an open house format. County and City staff will be available to answer questions about the proposed project. Comment cards will be provided to the public for use for written comments and can be completed either at the meeting or at home.

To guide project development and obtain public input, our public involvement process will include three public information meetings (PIMs) to be held near the beginning, midpoint, and end of the project. The content of each public information meeting is summarized below:

PIM Number 1 will focus on presenting the preferred alternative design and obtaining public input. At this point, anticipated
access modifications and right-of-way impacts will be presented for public comment. In addition, a conceptual staging
plan will be presented.

PIM Number 2 will be used to present a refined layout and will focus on a detailed construction schedule and construction
staging plan. Owners will also be invited to discuss construction impacts specific to their property.

PIM Number 3 will be held near the completion of the design to present the project in its final condition and inform residents of
the likely timeline for construction.

Anticipated dates:
PIM Number 1 - week of March 21 - 26
PIM Number 2 - week of June 27 - July 1
PIM Number 3 - week of September 5 - 9

Project Contacts

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

Jason Orcutt, Design Engineering Supervisor
Phone: 763-324-3115; Email Jason Orcutt

Nicholas Dobda, Project Engineer
Phone: 763-324-3118; Email Nicholas Dobda