MnDOT Awards Three Corridors of Commerce Projects
"It is fortunate that the legislature provided additional funding for this program this year," 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 Minnesota Department of Transportation on May 30 announced three additional Corridors of Commerce projects, valued at more than $400 million combined. The projects were funded by Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature in this year's public works bill.
"These urgently needed highway improvements are essential for the safety of our people and the betterment of our economy. Despite the investments I signed into law today, there are over 100 additional transportation improvement projects around the state that are still waiting for funding," Dayton said. "I strongly urge future legislatures to make the long-term, sustainable investments that are required to meet all of our state's under-funded transportation needs. Minnesotans' safety, quality of life, and economic vitality all depend upon it."
Corridors of Commerce were established by the legislature in 2013. They are intended to improve the state transportation system in ways that specifically support Minnesota's economy; the projects will be completed duringr the next four years. "It is fortunate that the legislature provided additional funding for this program this year," said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. "These were the next projects in line to be funded, according to guidance in state law from last year and this bonding bill. 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 three projects selected in the new round are:
- Highway 14, Owatonna to Dodge Center, estimated at up to $160 million. The project will expand Highway 14 from two lanes to four lanes between Owatonna and Dodge Center, thus completing a continuous four-lane roadway between I-35 and Rochester. The proposed project is intended to improve capacity, safety, travel times, and access to Rochester. Highway 14 previously received more than $58 million in Corridors of Commerce funding for road improvements.
- Highway 23, estimated at up to $105 million. The project will complete two gaps to create a continuous four-lane roadway from Willmar to St. Cloud. The two locations are from New London to Paynesville and from Paynesville to Richmond. The project will improve roadway capacity, safety, travel times and interstate access to west central and southwest Minnesota residents and businesses.
- Highway 252 and Interstate 94, Highway 610 to Dowling Avenue, estimated at up to $163 million, including up to $31 million in committed local funding. The project will convert Highway 252 to a freeway and install MnPASS lanes on the roadway. The proposed project is intended to improve capacity and dramatically improve the trip time reliability of the average rush-hour trip.
In January 2018, MnDOT solicited project recommendations from the public and conducted public outreach when developing the scoring criteria to be used in project selection. MnDOT received 299 project recommendations from across the state; after duplicate work and ineligible projects were removed, the agency had 172 project recommendations valued at $5.5 billion to consider. With the assistance of an independent third-party engineering firm, MnDOT scored and ranked the recommended projects using a set of eligibility and selection criteria that were passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2017 and required under state law. Criteria included:
- Proposed project's return on investment
- Economic impact
- Freight efficiency
- Safety improvement
- Regional connections
- Policy objectives
- Community consensus
- Geographic balance
For more information about the program and to view the submitted project recommendations, visit www.mndot.gov/corridorsofcommerce.