ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — The 2017 road construction season is ready to begin, with more than 200 road and bridge jobs in the pipeline totaling $1 billion.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) was set to unveil its massive list of projects for the year on Thursday, though many of those major repairs and reconstructions are already underway.
There’s a $46 million resurfacing of Interstate 94 and fixing more than 50 bridges between Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. The project also includes repairing 50 bridges on or over the interstate and repairing tile on the Lowry and Portland Avenue tunnels.
The state also plans to complete the addition of another lane to eastbound Interstate 694 in northern suburbs and resurfacing another stretch of Interstate 94 between St. Paul and Maplewood. That project ramped up in late January as both directions of the highway between Bren Road and Seventh Street closed.
“We are equal community disrupters,” MnDOT commissioner Charlie Zelle said. “No matter where you live, we will find a way because our system is eroding, so we have to take care of the pavements that need work across the state.”
A 5-mile repaving of Interstate 35 around Forest Lake will reduce freeway traffic to two lanes starting in July, and the Highway 169 Project has already closed an entire section of the highway in Minnetonka and Edina.
“The full closure allowed a full year of saving time on the project,” Tom O’Keefe of MnDOT said. “So it’s a big impact now with the full closure, but it will be done this year in October.”
These announcements are all on top of projects that are already underway in the metro area that will last throughout the year.
The Transportation Commissioner took the opportunity to call on legislators to come up with a long term funding solution for the transportation system. He claims the latest 20-year plan forecasts an $18 million budget shortfall in anticipated revenue and on what MnDOT needs to operate competitively.
In addition to road construction, MnDOT also announced 57 additional airport, port and railroad projects that total $47 million. Those projects are outside of the state road construction program.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)