Columbus Update: Roadway Repairs on the Way After Warm Winter

Whether you spend your drive averting them or having your vehicle jostled around by them, it's hard not to notice the numerous and sometimes gargantuan potholes that are riddling Municipal, County and State roadways across Minnesota and many of the northern states that experienced a warmer and wetter winter than usual.

But don't worry - the powers that be have noticed as well and are already making plans to rectify them.

Perhaps the road most complained about in Columbus is not even a City roadway at all. This winter has taken an especially heavy toll on the southern portion of Lake Drive, known to the Anoka County Highway Department (ACHD) as County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 23, as large cracks, missing chunks and gaping potholes are scattered across the driving surface.

Fortunately, ACHD's Chief Officer of Transportation and County Engineer Joe MacPherson said Columbus residents and workers will not have to dodge these issues much longer. At the ColumBiz event at Running Aces Hotel on March 23, 2023, MacPherson shared that the portion of Lake Drive in the Commercial/Industrial District, defined as the section of Lake Drive south of Potomac Street to the Columbus-Lino Lakes border and commonly referred to as "Contractors Row," will receive an overlay this summer. That project will start on June 19, 2023.

Other roadways in the City that fall under the County's purview include CSAH 17 (Lexington Avenue/185th Avenue/197th Avenue), CSAH 18 (Broadway Avenue), County Road 19 (Potomac Street), CSAH 54 (West Freeway Drive) and CSAH/County Road 62 (Kettle River Boulevard is a CSAH from its southern terminus at Lake Drive to the roundabout intersection with Broadway Avenue, and a county road from the roundabout to the Columbus-Wyoming border), meaning that ACHD is the entity charged with plowing, sweeping and, in this case, repairing those roads. Citizens should file THIS POTHOLE REPORT to ACHD so they can schedule it for inspection.

With the exception of I-35, its eastern and western derivatives, and the short section of State Highway 97 that starts on the eastern side of the bridge crossing I-35 and quickly heads east into Forest Lake, all other roadways in Columbus are under the purview of the City of Columbus. Whether paved or gravel, these roads are maintained by the Columbus Public Works Department. Once gravel roads have dried out after the spring thaw, Public Works will fire up its grader to bring those roads back into shape, followed by a new layer of gravel where necessary. Similar to their gravel counterparts, a tour of all paved roads in the City will be conducted by Public Works staff to assess their conditions and be prioritized and scheduled for repair as necessary.

In addition to the Lake Drive overlay and City street repairs, the only other major road project in Columbus this building season is the anticipated completion of West Freeway Drive's realignment. Once that project is complete, West Freeway Drive will extend beyond its current northern terminus at the roundabout intersection with Lake Drive and turn east to connect with the DNR's road to two Lamprey Pass parking lots. Work will resume on this project on Monday, April 17, and the project is expected to be finalized in September 2023.