MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A major highway expansion that’s been years in the making finally got underway Monday with a groundbreaking ceremony northwest of the Twin Cities.
Construction crews will begin adding a new lane on either side of Interstate 94 between Rogers and St. Michael. Any motorist who has driven this stretch of interstate has experienced a traffic delay at some point. Lawmakers, including Rep. Michele Bachmann who is from the district, fought to make traffic less congested in the area in an effort to help businesses.
Bachmann was on hand Monday morning with Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the groundbreaking ceremony. The project, which will cover about 10 miles, will cost about $28.3 million.
On the eastbound side, crews will build an auxiliary lane from Highway 241 to Highway 101. On the westbound side, crews will extend the Highway 101 ramp at Rogers, install a third lane from Rogers to St. Michael and construct a noise wall on the north side of I-94 in Rogers. They will also wident bridges and install new support girders.
Officials said the goal is to add capacity and improve traffic flow as well as alleviate congestion during rush hour as it’s a route frequented by freight traffic and commuter. They’re also hoping to ease the congestion on secondary roads in the area.
Several businesses are in the area who have said the constant back up and congestion loses them money in late shipments and is unsafe.
“That’s what we want for our kids and that’s what we want for our grandkids. In order to do that, we have to build the roads and infrastructure that we need so that businesses will want to come to Minnesota,” Bachmann said.
The project is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2015. Transportation officials said motorists can still travel in the area for the Fourth of July weekend as construction won’t be fully underway yet.
It’s also part of a larger project to expand the interstate from Maple Grove to St. Cloud, but funding for that won’t be discussed until the next legislative session.