The Mission of the Ramsey County Public Works Department is to enhance the social and economic welfare of the people of Ramsey County by providing and maintaining a safe, efficient transportation system that is coordinated with the needs of other units of government; facilitating the preservation of the quality of county lakes and other water resources through effective resource management; providing a system of uniform land records to ensure the proper recording of land survey documents; and continuing the coordination of public works programs with federal, state and local agencies.
The following objectives are vital to Ramsey County Public Works Department's success in accomplishing its mission:
- Review, plan, program, and construct the County highway system and provide information about the system to other government agencies and the general public.
- Provide roads, bridges, and traffic control/warning systems which are designed to meet state and/or federal highway specifications and ensure the safe and efficient movement of motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Provide a maintenance program for the County highway system that safeguards the traveling public and protects the County's investment in the highway system.
- Increase street capacity by obtaining the maximum level of service from the existing highway system while attempting to minimize the impact these facilities have on the social and physical environment.
- Provide professional engineering and land survey services to other Ramsey County departments and coordinate these services with the engineering efforts of others.
- Provide a fleet of equipment and motor vehicles necessary to accomplish public works operations and provide vehicle maintenance for other County departments.
- Protect the County's environmental resources by providing services in the areas of water resource management, drainage, weed control, and maintenance of County roadside trees and vegetation.
- Provide a work environment that promotes employee safety and development while encouraging trust, open communication and teamwork.
- Comprehensive planning and development of Capital Improvement Programs.
- Project administration and coordination.
- Specialized engineering studies in traffic, environmental, bridges and pavements.
- Project design and plan preparation.
- Construction contract administration.
- Water resource monitoring and improvement.
- Specialized laboratory work.
- Agriculture inspection and roads/parks tree management.
- Job hazard monitoring and training.
- Equipment acquisition and maintenance for Public Works and other county departments; i.e., Sheriff, Library and Lake Owasso Residence.
- Buildings and facility maintenance.
- Specialized major maintenance activities (pavement recycling, resurfacing, reconstruction of roadway facilities etc.
- Routine maintenance (sweeping, mowing, ditch and culvert repair, storm sewer/catch basin repair and cleaning etc.).
- Bridge maintenance.
- Snow and ice control.
- Control and checking of property development platting.
- Maintain base mapping and public land survey system for all properties in Ramsey County.
- Provide assistance and information for other public and private land surveys.
- Ramsey County Online Maps & Data.
- Roadway striping and marking.
- Traffic sign fabrication, installation and repair.
- Traffic signal maintenance.
A system of thoroughfares, highways, streets and other public ways
Ramsey County was designated a fully urbanized county with the release of the 1990 Census. This urbanization process started over a century ago and developed today's transportation system. The effects of the past continue to form the basis for the present transportation network in Ramsey County.
In the 1860s, the dominance of water transportation brought clusters of settlers near the Mississippi River. Early roads connected Saint Paul with Stillwater, Saint Anthony, Little Canada and White Bear Lake. All of these were mere trails and during the winter months were normally impassable.
With the arrival of the railroads in the late 1800s, the population concentration near the river soon shifted to other parts of the county. By 1900, the railroads had defined two corridors of development in Ramsey County: one to the northeast of Saint Paul and one to the northwest. These corridors consisted of separate communities strung along the railroad. The northeast corridor contained the industrial village of North Saint Paul and the resort town of White Bear Lake. The northwest corridor crossed the agricultural areas of what is now Roseville to the village of New Brighton. The north central section of the county was sparsely settled with no clearly emerging orientation.
In the early 1900s the automobile changed development trends as profoundly as the railroad had changed growth patterns a half century earlier. Residential development began to disperse as the ease of travel between all points in the county increased as a result of automobile use. Intra-county circulation became more important and a grid road network was established along section lines. Even today, some of these roads continue to be the more important roads in the county. By 1938, the county was responsible for 204 miles of county and county state aid roads: 35 miles were paved roadway, 77 miles bituminous and 90 miles were gravel roads.
During the 1950s the Federal Aid Interstate highway system was initiated - this had a profound impact on cities and suburbs. Between 1950 and 1990, more than 500 miles of new major metropolitan highways were built in the Twin Cities to serve the growing region. Interstate highways serving Ramsey County are: I-94, I-694, I-35E and -I35W. The availability of access to the interstate system has attracted - and will continue to attract - residential, commercial and industrial development in Ramsey County.
Today, Ramsey County Public Works is responsible for maintaining 293 miles of county roads, more than 140 bridges, 30,000 signs and more than 360 signial systems.