BEMIDJI, Minn. – Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle today announced $1 billion in state road and bridge projects that will be worked on statewide this year. The 211 projects, many of which are already underway, will help keep the state’s roads and bridges in good working condition, improve safety for motorists and support thousands of construction jobs across the state.
“While this year’s program is comparable in dollar value to last year’s, we are seeing fewer projects. And, in the coming years, we will also see the funding that is available to invest will decrease because of inflation and flattening revenue streams,” Zelle said.
The latest 20-year Minnesota highway investment plan forecasts an $18 billion dollar gap between anticipated revenue and what MnDOT will need to keep the transportation system operating competitively.
“The transportation system is a key to Minnesota’s economic success,” Zelle said. “With more than half of our state roads older than 50 years, and 40 percent of our bridges more than 40 years old, the need is outpacing available resources. It’s important that legislators work together to find a long-term, sustainable funding solution this year so the transportation system does not continue to degrade.”
Zelle also announced 57 multimodal projects valued at $47 million. These include airport, port and railroad projects that are outside of the state road construction program.
2017 road and bridge construction season
Among the highlights of this year’s construction season is the anticipated completion of the St. Croix River Crossing between Stillwater, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis., and the relocation of Highway 53 in Virginia, Minn., that includes the construction of what will be the tallest bridge in Minnesota.
Visit the District Two projects page for more information on big projects in northwestern Minnesota, www.mndot.gov/d2/projects. They include:
· Bemidji- Highway 2 and Highway 197 resurfacing
· Deer River- Highway 2 resurfacing
· East Grand Forks- Highway 2 Kennedy Bridge
· Winger to Callaway- Hwy 59 resurfacing
For a complete list of projects, including construction dates and traffic impacts, visit www.mndot.gov/construction.
Motorists can stay informed about projects and other transportation topics by connecting to MnDOT via social media, as well as by signing up to receive email updates at www.mndot.gov.
Watch for orange cones
Because of the number of work zones motorists will encounter as crews perform road construction and maintenance work this construction season, MnDOT asks drivers to be alert on the road this summer. MnDOT urges motorists to:
· Check www.511mn.org for up-to-date information about traffic and road conditions
· Minimize distractions (e.g., don’t use cell phones or eat or drink while driving)
· Follow posted speed limits; fines double in work zones
· Expect delays, especially during peak travel times
“I strongly urge all motorists to drive carefully in work zones. These areas can be dangerous places for both those who work in them, as well as those who drive through them,” Zelle said. “We all want to reach our destinations safely.”