ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration is directing $300 million into ten highway construction projects meant to break up bottlenecks and improve freight movement around the state.
Dayton and Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle announced the projects Thursday. Competition for the money was fierce, with more than 400 proposals related to 100 unique road projects presented to the Department of Transportation.
The ten projects were chosen based on factors like community support and project readiness
Among the projects chosen are the addition of lanes on Interstate 94 between Rogers and St. Michael. Another involves a stretch of Interstate 694 stretching from Rice Street to Lexington Avenue. The plan there will be to add an extra lane to help traffic flow better during rush hours.
Only two of the projects are in the Twin Cities area; the rest are in greater Minnesota, but Zelle says the Twin Cities projects are more expensive.
Some of the other areas where improvements will be made include U.S. Highway 14 East in Owatonna and Highway 34 from Detroit Lakes to Nevis.
Dayton and Zelle says the projects fulfill only a fraction of what’s needed to keep Minnesota’s transportation system competitive. Dayton said he hopes these projects will open the doors for other improvements in the near future.
It’s going to benefit tens of thousands of Minnesotans. If you look at these projects, it’s going to save lives, it’s going to make commutes shorter and less stressful,” Dayton said. “There are all sorts of reasons to do what we can do now and also showcase what kinds of projects can be done with an increase to resources.”
All of the projects are expected to be completed within the next three years. Because of the big need for other improvements statewide, Dayton plans to ask the 2014 Legislature to increase transportation funding.
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