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308 Minnesota construction projects planned

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308 Minnesota construction projects planned
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

ST. PAUL — State road repair projects are about to step into proverbial high gear, and there are a lot of them.

That might not always be the case.

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Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle called the state’s $1.1 billion effort this year an “amazingly robust construction program,” but the list of 308 projects will probably be the next-to-last of its size, unless state and federal spigots free up more highway dollars.

“That’s... like building a Vikings stadium all in one construction season,” Zelle said. “We expect to have maybe a similar size next year.”

But with deteriorating roads and bridges and no significant growth in spending, he cautioned, future repair efforts will be hampered unless lawmakers find “long-term, sustainable transportation funding.”

Of the 348 state projects, 30 are in MnDOT’s District 2, which encompasses much of northwest Minnesota.

From highway bridges to traffic signals, MnDOT owns 80 percent of the transportation assets in the state, Deputy Commissioner Sue Mulvihill said Thursday as the agency rolled out its 2014 construction plans.

Given funding constraints, construction money is mostly being dedicated toward maintaining and repaving what already exists than to building new roads and interchanges, Zelle said.

Even so, a rough winter has made the spring thaw especially rocky, and older roads are showing their age.

“We have a pothole issue throughout the state,” Zelle said. “It really indicates that the underlying condition of our infrastructure needs a long-term solution.”

Local projects

Below is a list of major projects in northwest Minnesota:

  • Ada: Repair 13 miles of U.S. Highway 75 and replace bridge at 240th Street. Cost: $7 million. Starts: This summer.
  • Brooks: Repair 13 miles of state Highway 92 and build new bridge over Poplar River. Cost: $3.59 million. Starts: This summer.
  • Crookston: Repair a slide area on U.S. Highway 2 near the Red Lake River. Cost: $7.5 million. Starts: No specific time.
  • Hallock area: Two new state Highway 175 bridges over the middle branch of the Two Rivers. Cost: $1.39 million. Starts: This summer.
  • Lancaster area: New U.S. Highway 59 bridge over the north branch of the Two Rivers. Cost: $1.25 million. Starts: This summer.
  • Oslo: Repairs to the Red River bridge. Cost: $7 million. Starts: This fall.
  • Thief River Falls: Updates to Red River Bridge. Cost: $1.6 million. Starts: This summer.
  • East Grand Forks: new gates at railroad crossing at state Highway 220. Cost: $250,000. Starts: This summer or fall.

More On the Web: To see all projects go to bit.ly/1i5Bxz8.

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

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