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News » US » MnDOT picks priority road projects » published 2 May 2018

MnDOT picks priority road projects

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has allocated more than US$400m in funding to four key road projects as part of its ‘Corridors of Commerce’ program.

The four projects – worth a total of US$$417m – are intended to improve the state transportation system in ways that specifically support Minnesota’s economy. Work will begin during the next four years.

 “Since 2013, the Corridors of Commerce program has funded projects that are important to the health of our transportation system and business climate, but not afforded in our four-year transportation investment plan,” said MnDOT commissioner Charlie Zelle. “The selected projects will enhance the movement of freight and people in the regions where these projects are located which will aid the economy and reduce congestion.”

The four projects receiving Corridors of Commerce funding in 2018 are:

  • Conversion of Highway 169 in Elk River to a freeway (estimate up to US$157m); project submitted by Justin Femrite, Elk River city engineer.
  • Construction of MnPAA lanes on Highway 494, France Avenue to Highway 77 (Metro District) to improve the capacity of the interstate and dramatically improve the reliability of the average rush hour trip (estimate up to US$134m); project submitted by Tony Fischer, Metropolitan Council.
  • Construction of the first phase of a turbine interchange that includes a directional ramp for northbound I-35W to westbound I-494 traffic (estimate up to US$70m); project submitted by Karl Keel, City of Bloomington public works director.
  • Expansion of I-94 from four to six lanes between Highway 241 in St. Michael and County Road 19 in Albertville (estimate up to US$56m); project submitted by several people including Steve Bot (St. Michael city engineer), Adam Flaherty (Otsego city administrator), and Adam Nafstad (Albertville city administrator).

In January, MnDOT solicited project recommendations from the public, including local units of government, transportation advocates and interested citizens. It also conducted significant public outreach when developing the scoring criteria. MnDOT received a total of 299 project recommendations. After duplicate work and ineligible projects were removed, the agency had 172 project recommendations valued at US$5.5bn.

With the assistance of a consultant engineering firm, the agency scored and ranked the recommended projects using a set of eligibility and selection criteria, which were passed by the Minnesota Legislature and required under state law. Criteria included the proposed project’s return on investment, economic impact, freight efficiency, safety improvement, regional connections, policy objectives and community consensus.    

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This article was published on 2 May 2018 (last updated on 2 May 2018).

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