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Minnesota DOT proposes new bridge over BNSF grade crossing

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is proposing the construction of a multi-span bridge to improve the safety of what is now a BNSF Railway Co. grade crossing on Highway 47 in the city of Anoka.

The department's recommendation is included in a feasibility study released Tuesday. The crossing averages about 18,300 vehicles each day with up to 80 train crossings a day for an average of one train every 24 minutes, MnDOT officials said in a press release.

In addition to public safety concerns, the crossing contributes to delays and backups for motorists while trains are crossing, they said.

The study was the result of MnDOT meetings with local officials, businesses and the public to gather input on ways to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and trains.

Two alternatives were evaluated: build the bridge over the railroad or lower the road beneath the railroad alignment.

Currently unfunded, the proposed bridge would include two travel lanes with a multi-use rail on the east side. It would be designed to allow for construction of an additional two lanes if Highway 47 is expanded in the future, MnDOT officials said.

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