Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Congressional Transportation Status Report

About District 6

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District 6 Overview

Enhancing Financial Effectiveness

MnDOT is focused on stretching tax payer dollars while continuing to deliver effective and highly valued products, services and programs. Today we are using technology, partnerships, performance-based design, contracting methods, and other tools to reduce costs, save time and limit the negative effects on travelers, shippers and businesses. A strategic priority, financial effectiveness is demonstrated by the following programs, among others, at MnDOT District 6.

Mississippi River bridges

A view of the new I-90 Dresbach Bridge at night.

A view of the new I-90 Dresbach Bridge at night.

MnDOT is working with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, cities, counties and other state and federal agencies as we begin our third Mississippi River bridge in District 6 in May 2017 when construction starts in Red Wing.

Each bridge – the Interstate 90 Dresbach Bridge, the Highway 43 Winona Bridge and the Highway 63 Red Wing Bridge – are being built to last 100 years. Each bridge is different with unique conditions, contracting, geography and partners.

Among the three bridges, the Winona Bridge is using the Contract Manager/General Contractor procurement method, which is the first time for MnDOT. The new Winona Bridge was opened on Aug. 27, 2016, to traffic and now work is taking place to rehabilitate the historic through-truss bridge. CMGC is an integrated approach to planning, designing and constructing a project. Owners, designers and contractors work collaboratively to develop the project scope, optimize the design, improve quality and manage cost .

During constructability reviews for the new Winona Bridge, the CMGC team recommended changing the piling wall thickness from the originally recommended 1 inch to three-quarters inch. This added length to the overall piling quantity required, but it led to $638,000 in overall savings on a $2.2 million contract.

Additionally, when the rehabilitation portion of the work package had estimates projected above earlier estimates, MnDOT was able to split the work package into two, which allowed time to refine estimates and look for alternatives with MnDOT’s partners on achieving the outcomes. CMGC allowed this pause and changes to occur, whereas other methods would not have been as flexible.

Project History

  • The Interstate 90 Dresbach Bridge was completed in fall of 2016. The $187 million project was a joint effort by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation that includes the ramps for Hwy 61 in Minnesota, as well as connections for the Mississippi River Trail bicycle trail. Work began in 2013. The new bridge over the Mississippi river was built and then the old bridge, built in 1967, was removed.
  • The Hwy 43 Winona Bridge is midway through the project. On Aug. 27, 2016, the new bridge was opened to traffic. The existing historic bridge was closed to traffic in the fall of 2016, so rehabilitation work could take place. It’s expected to be completed in fall of 2019 or spring of 2020. Once completed, Winona will have four lanes of traffic over the Mississippi River. The project construction cost is estimated at $145 million.
  • The Hwy 63 (Eisenhower Bridge) in Red Wing is scheduled to begin construction in May 2017. The construction cost is estimated at $80 million - $105 million. The existing bridge was completed in 1960. It will be replaced with a new bridge, new approaches on the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides, as well as a bridge over Hwy 61, which is on the south end of Red Wing. It’s expected to be completed by 2020.

Another key initiative of MnDOT is to earn trust and increase transparency by being a customer-centered organization in which we engage customers, listen to understand and balance the diverse needs of all to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Each work group within MnDOT in District 6 has initiatives they’ve developed to address this goal and make progress through 2018.

Hydraulic Inspection Vehicle Explorer (HIVE)

HIVEs created by MnDOT District 6 for other MnDOT districts to use in culvert, pipe inspections.

HIVEs created by MnDOT District 6 for other MnDOT districts to use in culvert, pipe inspections.

A MnDOT Rochester group that designed a remote-controlled vehicle equipped with a video camera received a 2016 Governor's Better Government Award for its creation and use of the tiny SUV, which has improved the inspection of pipes and culverts in District 6.

The Hydraulic Inspection Vehicle Explorer, HIVE, is a custom-built radio-controlled car developed to more easily and efficiently inspect culverts throughout the district, which includes 11 counties in southeast Minnesota.

It won the Great Results category, one of three that celebrates individual and organizational accomplishments that have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of state government.

District 6 has produced similar inspection vehicles for other MnDOT districts across the state.

The device already has saved thousands dollars by producing more accurate assessments of culverts and pipes, which then helps develop more accurate construction estimates. The HIVE cost a total of about $1,500 with all equipment available at a typical hobby shop. The typical full inspection camera unit that’s been used prior to the HIVE can cost as much as $80,000.

An inspection of a culvert on Minnesota Highway 26 in Houston County revealed that only limited repairs, rather than a full replacement, were needed. It also has completed inspections of culverts in the U.S. Highway 52 Rochester corridor, revealing major culvert failures that couldn't be seen using external visual inspections.

HIVE uses a wireless connection to send video from the vehicle's camera to a tablet held by an inspector. The camera can be rotated by the operator, and includes additional lighting for sufficient illumination in those dark spaces.