Carver County is leading and managing the project delivery and design effort with assistance from MnDOT. This section of Hwy 101 will be transferred to the county’s jurisdiction prior to construction. MnDOT is providing services and funding to the project including Bridge Design, Contract Administration and Oversight, and other engineering services as needed. Services and responsibilities for both parties and the jurisdictional transfer framework for Hwy 101 are outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Carver County and MnDOT.
The scope of the project includes construction of an approximate four-lane, 4100-foot long bridge over the floodplain north of the Minnesota River channel, bike trail, a roundabout at the “Y”, and additional improvements along County Hwy 61. The bridge and roundabout will be constructed to allow Hwy 101 traffic across the floodplain during construction.
Road and bridge design are underway. Most of the environmental studies have been complete, and the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) is available online. Cost estimates are being continually refined as additional design and soils investigations are completed.
Why is this project being done?
Highways 101 and 41 closed due to flooding seven times between spring 1993 and June 2014 (four times since 2010) with closure times varying from several days to several weeks. When these river crossings close, much of the traffic utilizes the Highway 169 and Highway 25 Minnesota River crossings, which causes a cascading effect of congestion that affects regional and local travel and costs travelers time and money. The congestion impedes commuters, commercial freight carriers and emergency services providers.
A MnDOT study completed in 2011 identified potential low-cost, high-benefit solutions to address that recurring congestion. This study looked at potential solutions to ease congestion until an expanded Highway 41 Minnesota River bridge could be built. Additional highlights of the study included:
- Detailed river modeling using a computer aided hydrological analysis
- Open communications seeking public and agency participation
- Direction to pursue construction of a floodplain bridge at Highway 101 north of the Minnesota River channel and out of the 100-year flood elevation