Select Minnesota roads to get $300 million boost

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/25/2013

Gov. Mark Dayton announced a $300 million program for 10 state highway projects that are intended to boost Minnesota’s highway capacity and improve freight movement statewide.

“These projects will reduce travel times and improve safety ... and help our businesses transport their products more efficiently,” Dayton said in a news release.

The new “Corridors of Commerce program” will start next summer with five projects scheduled. Three more projects will begin in 2015 and two more in 2016.

Transportation improvements include the addition of lanes, bypasses and shoulders to essential travel corridors.

Enacted by the Minnesota Legislature during the 2013 regular session, the Corridors of Commerce program authorizes trunk highway bonding for projects that are not already in the state’s four-year improvement program.

The biggest project selected by the Minnesota Department of Transportation for financing is a new freeway connection on state Highway 610 between county road 81 and Interstate 94. The price tag is more than $100 million.

Projects listed specifically to benefit freight movement are:

  • Passing lanes on state Highway 23 from Willmar to Interstate 90.
  • Passing lanes on U.S. Highway 2 from Cass Lake to Deer River.
  • Passing lanes on U.S. Highway 34 from Detroit Lakes to Nevis.

Another project of note will turn U.S. Highway 14 into a four-lane roadway from Nicollet to North Mankato and the Nicollet Bypass. MnDOT describes the bypass project as creating “enhanced mobility for heavy commercial traffic between regional trade centers.”

New lanes would also be added each way along U.S. Highway 169 from country road 15 to one mile east of county road 7 near Grand Rapids.

One more project will add a dynamic shoulder lane along Interstate 694 in Minneapolis from Rice Street to Lexington Avenue. The stretch of road carries 100,000 vehicles daily. It is also the designated truck bypass of I-94 through the core metro area.

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