Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Congressional Transportation Status Report

About District 7

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District 7 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, etc. to reduce costs, save time and limit impacts to travelers, shippers and businesses in order to deliver efficient and reliable multimodal transportation. A strategic priority, financial effectiveness is demonstrated by the following programs, among others, at MnDOT District 7.

Project Management

In 2014, District 7 was successful in partnering with the City of Mankato and Blue Earth County in the development and construction of multi-lane roundabouts at the Hwy 22 intersections with Madison Avenue and Adams Street.  The locations were two of the most crash prone intersections in south-central Minnesota. 

Of the eight approaches involved at that location there were three city streets, one county road and one state highway. 

The partners worked closely with area businesses and were able to accelerate the construction schedule. The two roundabouts were built simultaneously in a very condensed time frame. Construction started June 9 and the project opened for traffic Aug. 25.

Asset Management

As our highway system ages and construction funds become limited, finding ways to preserve roadway surfaces and structures in an efficient and cost effective manner becomes more and more important. 

District 7 maintenance crews are continually trying new and innovated products and methods. One example is the use of high performance poly patching material (Mastics) and micro surfacing for repairing cracks and distressed surfaces - a quick, permanent and cost effective way to maintain pavement. Another example is the practice of inserting a plastic liner into an aging culvert instead of completely replacing the structure. Replacing a culvert can be very costly and requires digging into the roadway and detouring traffic. 

Financial Management

A recent and highly successful example of District 7 partnering with the Region 9 Development Commission resulted in an Economic Development Agency (EDA) grant of $9.8 million toward flood mitigation on U.S. Hwy 169 – a major corridor that has been closed seven times due to high water in the past 20 years. 

Without the additional dollars from the EDA, the district would have only been able to afford a minor preservation project (mill and overlay) on just the southbound lanes of Highway 169 from Mankato to St. Peter – a span of approximately nine miles.

Because of the EDA grant, District 7 was able to complete three miles (four different areas totaling three miles) of reconstruction/grade raise on both northbound and southbound Highway 169, and six miles of preservation work, both northbound and southbound Highway 169. Cable barrier was also installed in the center of the paved median over the nine miles.

U.S. Highway 169 is an important Inner-Regional Corridor with a high number of both heavy commercial traffic and passenger vehicles. A large area of south central Minnesota, northern Iowa, and eastern South Dakota rely on U.S. Highway 169 for the shipment of:

  • Agricultural products (such as corn, beans, ethanol, hogs, and cattle),
  • Manufactured goods (Toro, Caterpillar, Carlson Craft),
  • Other products (fracking sand, wind turbines, etc.), and
  • Traffic associated with a major retail distribution center planned for construction in Mankato.

Flooding events that force detours from U.S. Highway 169 and Minnesota 22 are costly in terms of both time and money. Mitigating road closures due to flooding will help our area continue to grow and prosper while maintaining vital supply chains during disasters or other emergency situations.