The segment of Highway 14 between Owatonna and Dodge Center was previously included in an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) process, which addressed a broader segment of Highway 14 from Owatonna to Kasson. That EIS process was completed in August 1993. The 1993 EIS defined two project segments. The first segment was an extension of the four-lane, divided expressway from Kasson to the west side of Dodge Center at Highway 56 (including the Dodge Center bypass). The second Highway 14 segment was from Highway 56 to Interstate 35. In 2001, the first segment from the 1993 EIS was constructed.
Following construction of Highway 14 from Kasson to Dodge Center the imminent construction at that time of Highway 14 freeway expansion west of I-35 and corridor changes, it was determined the need of expressway from the 1993 EIS needed revisiting. This was done under advisement of FHWA and upper MnDOT management staff. Corridor changes included but were not limited to:
- System continuity to connect to freeway sections east and west of the corridor
- Change in rural speed limit from 55 to 65 mph
- Relatively high percentage of truck traffic (11%)
- Growing commuter population along the corridor
In summer of 2006, MnDOT initiated the new environmental study. A project public advisory committee (PAC) was formed. The PAC member consisted of representatives of affected cities, counties and townships, local political representatives, and MnDOT staff. The role of the PAC was to provide MnDOT with project technical issues from a local agency or public perspective and act as liaison to relay information between MnDOT and the public. During the four and a half year environmental study the PAC met over 20 times in addition to the numerous public meetings held.
The environmental study concluded in November 2010, with final approvals by federal and state authorities. Municipal consent was obtained from city of Claremont in May 2011. Then in November 2013, a portion of Highway 14 (referred to as Segment 1) studied under the EIS received money for construction. Construction is tentatively scheduled for July 2014 and will conclude in Fall 2015.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will construction occur on the remaining four-lane gap of Highway 14?
The remaining four-lane gap is not currently programmed for construction. MnDOT identifies fully funded projects four years in advance of construction as part of the STIP. MnDOT also identifies projects and needs beyond four years as part of a Statewide 20-year Highway Investment Plan. This segment of Highway 14 is included in Appendix I of this plan as part of an illustrative project list of unmet needs. A copy of the current 20-year plan can be viewed at: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/planning/program/index.html .
What type of pre-construction activities occurred since completing the environmental study?
The Department has worked on several different pre-construction activities to ready the remaining gap segments for construction should additional funding become available. These include:
- Hydraulic Design – Recently design standards for sizing roadway culverts and storm-water ponds were updated. The hydraulic design began in preliminary design was advanced based on the updated standards to provide a better understanding of the number and sizes of culverts and ponds needed for the project.
- Evaluation of Construction Staging Scenarios – Staff have studied potential construction staging scenarios to complete the Highway14 expansion in smaller segments. One of the segments was funded via Corridors of Commerce legislation.
- Subsurface Utility Exploration – Information was gathered on utilities within the proposed Highway 14 corridor. This data will provides the ability to estimate potential utility relocation costs and help reduce unknown contingency costs applied to the preliminary construction cost estimate.
- Phase II Contamination Investigation – Detailed information was gather on properties identified as “at risk” for contamination during the environmental study. The information will be used to identify mitigation needed and clean-up costs associated with the affected properties.
What type of pre-construction activities does the department have planned for the future?
The Department is considering several different pre-construction activities including:
- Continuing a material soils investigation
- Gathering detailed data on farm tile locations
- Gathering information for future right of way acquisition
- Advancing the remaining segments for project readiness:
- Further explore construction staging scenarios
- Explore different construction delivery methods
- Provide vested agencies with project updates
What rights do property owners have if their property is needed for future construction?
Property owners can request early acquisition, which may occur if certain hardship tests are met and if money is available in district right of way funds. Two properties part of the corridor have been purchased through this process. Examples of hardship include medical or financial reasons. Please contact John Paulson in the district Right of Way office at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.