Highways 101 and 41 closed due to flooding six times between spring 1993 and spring 2011 (three 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