ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A new Highway 23 bridge in St. Cloud is among 135 new highway and bridge projects unveiled today by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as part of its annual construction kickoff. The projects, valued at $441 million, are being bolstered by $216 million in accelerated projects and other programs.
"We’re looking forward to another solid construction season,” said acting Transportation Commissioner Bob McFarlin. “This year’s projects follow-up on the three largest road construction seasons in the history of the state. In 2008 we will move forward on a number of road and bridge projects, increase maintenance on state roads, enhance transit and begin a new congestion relief project in the Twin Cities Metro area. Mn/DOT is poised to have a great summer of accomplishment with several major projects being completed and others beginning.”
The St. Cloud bridge, along with a resurfacing project on Interstate 90 in Mower and Olmsted counties and the “triangle” project on Highway 169 and County Road 81 in the northwest Metro, have been advanced to the 2008 construction season from 2015, 2009 and 2009, respectively. Twenty-eight additional highway and bridge projects valued at $549 million, including replacing the Highway 61 Bridge in Hastings, will be accelerated in 2009 and 2010.
"We have established a goal of getting the Hastings Bridge under contract by June 1, 2010. Achieving this objective will require significant cooperation from our local, state and federal partners. We are confident that cooperation will be forthcoming and the goal will be met," said McFarlin.
Highlights of the 2008 construction season include the completion of major projects originally advanced by the Pawlenty-Molnau bonding program in 2003. These include the Highway 10 realignment in Detroit Lakes, the Highway 34 reconstruction in Park Rapids, the I-694/I-35E Unweave the Weave reconstruction north of St. Paul and the new Highway 212 project in the southwest Metro. There are also some 20 additional carryover projects begun in previous years like the I-35W/Highway 62 Crosstown reconstruction in the Twin Cities.
"The volume of the work on our roads and bridges is an impressive contribution to the state economy. It underscores our determination to deliver results for Minnesota taxpayers," said McFarlin.
2008 Minnesota Statewide Construction Season Highlights
Northern, North Central Minnesota
Work in the northern and central parts of the state includes:
- Highway 23 DeSoto Bridge in St. Cloud
- Highway 10 realignment in Detroit Lakes
- Highway 34 reconstruction in Park Rapids
- Highway 53 expansion north of Virginia to south of Cook
- Highway 197 reconstruction (3rd Street) in Bemidji
- Highway 12 South Fork Crow River bridge reconstruction
Twin Cities Metropolitan Area
Work in the Twin Cities metropolitan area includes:
- I-35W Bridge replacement
- New Highway 212 project in Eden Prairie and Chaska
- I-35W/Crosstown Highway reconstruction
- I-35E/I-694 “Unweave the Weave” project
- Highway 12 interchange in Long Lake and Orono
- Highway 61 bridge deck repairs and bridge painting in Hastings
- Highway 65 interchange at County 14 in Blaine
Southern, West Central Minnesota
Work in southern and west central Minnesota includes:
- I-90 resurfacing in Olmsted and Mower counties
- Highway 14 Waseca expansion and bypass
- Highway 60 resurfacing between Butterfield and St. James
- Highway 169 Minnesota River bridge at LeSueur
- Highway 7 and Highway 29 resurfacing in Montevideo
- Highway 7 resurfacing and roundabout construction between Silver Lake and Bonifacius
During construction and road maintenance project work, Mn/DOT and the Minnesota State Patrol urge drivers to:
- Stay alert.
- Watch for signs, equipment and workers.
- Minimize distractions such as using cell phones, eating or drinking.
- Avoid tailgating.
- Follow posted speed limits; fines double in work zones.
- Stay in one lane while driving through a work zone.
For more information on the state construction program visit the Minnesota Department of Transportation Web site at www.mndot.gov.