Plans approved for Sunrise Prairie Trail extension

A retaining wall will be needed to skirt the path past River Walk Park. Photo by Derrick Knutson
A retaining wall will be needed to skirt the path past River Walk Park. Photo by Derrick Knutson

By the end of the summer this year, the Sunrise Prairie Trail should extend up to about 410th Street in North Branch.
The North Branch City Council unanimously approved plans and specs for the trail extension at its Feb. 28 meeting.
North Branch partnered with the city of Harris and Chisago County in the fall of 2015 to apply for a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Legacy Grant through the Greater Regional Parks and Trails Commission. They were notified by the commission in early 2016 that they had received a partial funding for the trail extension in the amount of $719,248.
“On March 9 the project would be advertised in the paper, the bids open on March 31, the council would consider the project award on April 11, and active construction would begin in May of 2017,” said Nate Sondrol, North Branch geographic information systems-planning specialist. “Substantial completion would be by Aug. 25 and final completion by Sept. 22.”
After the meeting, Sondrol explained that the trail, which currently ends just before the Wagon Wheel Pizza parking lot, would cross onto the east side of Highway 61 at the intersection of that thoroughfare and Highway 95.
“We’re utilizing the existing sidewalk,” he said. “For bikes, it’s not going to be ideal, but we figure it’s going to be a safer crossing at a controlled intersection, versus uncontrolled.”
To extend the trail along the side of the steep embankment that flows down into Riverwalk Park, just up the road from the intersection, a substantial amount of construction is going to need to be completed.
“We’ll have a retaining wall heading down into River Walk Park,” said Lucas Joes, MSA Professional Services project engineer. “We need a big retaining wall to stay away from the stream there. It’ll be nice to be on the same side there and be able to access the park. We’re thinking we’ll get up to about 410th Street. We thought we’d be able to go all the way up to Harris, but with funding, they cut it (the original plan) in half. They only gave half the application.”
The mayor said she’s looking forward to seeing the work commence on the trail extension in the spring.
“It is very exciting,” she said. “It has been a long time coming.”
In addition to the trail extension, the entire Chisago County length of the existing trail from North Branch to Wyoming will be repaved this summer, thanks to Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails funding the county received last year. The repave should begin after the MS150, June 9-11, the bike ride from Proctor to White Bear Lake that raises money for multiple sclerosis research. The riders use the Sunrise Prairie Trail during the trek.

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