By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLS (WCCO) —  Governor Tim Walz attended a celebration event Tuesday for a newly-opened 12.5-mile stretch of Highway 14 between Dodge Center and Owatonna.

Highway 14 was expanded from two lanes to four lanes between Dodge Center and Owatonna to complete a continuous four-lane road between Mankato and Rochester.

READ MORE: Twin Cities Entrepreneur Dreaming Big After Small Popcorn Business Gets Boost From Colbert

Walz says the work to expand the highway dates back to his time in Congress and the death of his neighbor in Mankato.

“Every Minnesotan deserves safe, dependable roads that get them home to their families. And for too long, Highway 14 has not been safe,” Walz said. “This long-awaited expansion of Highway 14 is the culmination of years of work and will help ensure Minnesotans get home safely, while also improving the critical movement of freight and agricultural products that are vital to our state’s economy.”

Shafer Contracting, the main contractor, spend over two years on the $108 million construction project, the release said.

READ MORE: Man Arrested After Allegedly Robbing Cottage Grove Bank, Fleeing On Foot

Last September, Walz announced that Minnesota received a $22 million grant from U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program for the Highway 14: Nicollet to New Ulm Mobility and Safety Improvement Project. Additionally, the state received  a $15 million BUILD grant for the Highway 10 Rum River Bridge Replacement and Intersection Improvements project.

Additional work is planned in 2022 on connecting roads.

To learn more about Highway 14 expansion, visit the MnDOT construction project website.

MORE NEWS: Parents Speaking Out After Multiple Fights Break Out At Hopkins H.S.