At approximately 2:30 Friday morning, June 13, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train derailed in the City of Ramsey just west of Alpine Drive. Fifteen empty box cars were involved in the derailment; no hazardous material was involved in the incident. There were no injuries. Because of the derailment, the City has closed Alpine Drive at U.S. Highway 10 and at Andrie Street to allow BNSF officials to work on the site.
Alpine Drive will remain closed until BNSF has completed all repairs. Ramsey residents should not notice any other impact due to the derailment. BNSF has indicated that they hope to have the westbound track open by the end of today. The removal of the damaged box cars and the repair of the tracks will take place over the weekend. The cause of the incident is still under investigation. It is unknown when the North Star Commuter Line service will be operational.
U.S. Highway 10 in Ramsey runs parallel to a mainline double set of BNSF train tracks. Several existing at-grade intersections located along U.S. Highway 10 have been recognized as a safety concern for commuters. Public officials from Ramsey have repeatedly expressed concern that in the event a train is passing during a time of emergency, public safety personnel are physically cut-off from U.S. Highway 10. Over the past decade, increased traffic along both U.S. Highway 10 and the BNSF train tracks have made public safety concerns a priority.
To address these concerns, the construction of the U.S. Highway 10/ Armstrong Boulevard Interchange project in the City of Ramsey was approved as part of this year’s State Legislative Bonding package. Construction is anticipated to begin in late fall or early spring 2015, and will provide full access by elevating the roadway over the tracks.
Mayor Strommen says, “Public Safety is the number one priority for our community. We are working hard, with our partners, to make sure that the proper investments are made along U.S. Highway 10, one of the State’s busiest transportation corridors.”
Local communities along this stretch of U.S. Highway 10, including, Coon Rapids, Anoka, Andover, and Ramsey are working together with private businesses, Anoka County, and MNDOT to ensure that safety and transportation issues are properly addressed.