Board OKs cabling, design contracts, road transfer

Separate contracts for a fiber-optic cabling project and design work on a county road project that’s part of the St. Croix River Crossing bridge work and the transfer of part of county road to the state were all approved Tuesday by the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Access Communications was awarded a $144,569 contract to install fiber optic cables from Keats Avenue and U.S. Highway 61 to the north side of the new Mississippi River Bridge at Hastings. County bond proceeds fund the work.

The new fiber optic connection is designed to improve sharing between Washington and Dakota counties and provides a redundant ring between both counties and the state’s networks.

The fiber optic cables use light to transmit data at higher speeds over longer distances with less signal loss and no electromagnetic interference.

The second contract has Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH) provide preliminary design, geotechnical and environmental services on the county’s 56th Street-Pickett Avenue project in Oak Park Heights and Bayport.

SHE was originally awarded the design work for County State Aid Highway 21 (Stagecoach Trail) and CSAH 28 (56th Street-Pickett Avenue) and a new roadway alignment in 1996. Construction was planned to start in 1998, but the delayed St. Croix Crossing project delayed the county’s project.

With the St. Croix River bridge project revived, SEH will design the project along with providing geotechnical and environmental services, with additional professional services possibly needed as work progresses.

The County Board’s approval of the transfer of a portion of CSAH 15 to the state Department of Transportation allows the transferred section of road to become part of Minnesota 95 between Interstate 94 and CSAH 18.

Commissioners included the road transfer in 1997 as part of the county’s 2015 Comprehensive plan that included the CSAH 15 transfer along with the transfer of CSAH 18 in Woodbury and Afton to MnDOT jurisdiction.

The County Board then adopted a September 1998 resolution transferring part of CSAH 15 to MnDOT with the exception of the actual transfer of the county’s interest in the road.

Tuesday’s action completes the 1998 transfer, allowing MnDOT to operate and maintain the road. The county will execute a quit claim deed relinquishing the county’s interest in the transferred portion of CSAH 15.