Mega-project in the rear-view mirror

Speakers included Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce President Colleen Eddy, Washington County Commissioner Dennis Hegberg and Washington County Administrator Molly O’Rourke. (Photo submitted)

The Forest Lake community marked the completion of the $40 million transit ‘mega-project’ with a celebration Oct. 16 at the American Legion Post 225.

Speakers of honor included Washington County Administrator Molly O’Rourke, Washington County Commissioner Dennis Hegberg, Forest Lake City Councilwoman Susan Young and Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce President Colleen Eddy. They praised the partnership of each level of government, as well as contractors, consultants, the Forest Lake business community and residents.

The goal of the project was to improve safety and mobility while allowing for inviting streetscape enhancements. The project, which rebuilt Broadway Avenue, relieves congestion at Broadway’s intersection with Interstate 35 with a new interstate overpass at County Road 83 and a wider Broadway bridge over I-35. A new First Avenue backage road provides access to businesses to the north of Broadway. A roundabout at the intersection of Highway 61 and Broadway Avenue relieved congestion.

Safety and accessibility for pedestrians was enhanced with two bridges on Hardwood Creek Trail; one over Broadway and one over County Road 83.

The electric, gas, and cable utilities that ran along Broadway Avenue above ground were buried along the roadway, contributing greatly to the streetscaping plan on the corridor.

The celebration raised funds for next year’s American Legion Fourth of July celebration. A spaghetti dinner fed about 100 guests, and a silent auction raised $730.