Governor Walz Celebrates Opening of Newly-Expanded 12.5-Mile Stretch of Highway 14
ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) Governor Tim Walz celebrated the opening of a newly-expanded 12.5-mile stretch of Highway 14 between Dodge Center and Owatonna. The 12.5-mile stretch of highway was recently expanded to a four-lane freeway and opened to traffic today. Governor Walz’s work to expand Highway 14 spans back to his time in Congress representing southern Minnesota 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,” said Governor Walz. “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.”
“MnDOT is proud to complete this project and improve safety and travel along this important corridor,” said Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “We want to thank southern Minnesotans for their cooperation as we made these important upgrades and look forward to continuing our work along the entire Highway 14 corridor in the coming years.”
“Today is decades in the making, and many lives have been lost or forever changed before we got to this point. The Highway 14 expansion will help prevent future tragedies while safely connecting southern Minnesota’s economy,” said Kevin Raney, president of the Highway 14 Partnership, an advocacy group that has supported work to improve Highway 14.
Shafer Contracting, the prime contractor, completed work over two years on the $108 million construction project. The project was funded through the state Corridors of Commerce program to improve traffic flow, safety, and commerce. Additional work is planned in 2022 on connecting roads.
By shifting to a new route south of the current alignment, access points were removed, including 15 public roadway accesses, 32 driveways, and 20 field entrances. The new highway is an access-controlled road that did not exist previously. There are two interchanges with ramps to provide access on the new Highway 14 route, Dodge County Road 3 and Highway 56, and there are seven new bridges.
Last fall, Governor Walz announced that Minnesota received a $22 million grant from the 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. The state also received a $15 million BUILD grant for the Highway 10 Rum River Bridge Replacement and Intersection Improvements project.