St. Michael urges MNDOT to expand Interstate 94 corridor

The city of St. Michael wants the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) to know that improving Interstate 94 is not just a St. Michael goal, but also a regional one.

The city sent a letter to MNDOT requesting as much.

The city asked MNDOT to prioritize Inter Regional Corridor (IRC) Mobility and add the I-94 West Corridor to the 20-year plan for MNDOT funding.

“This stretch of roadway needs lanes added, not a 10-year resurfacing project as currently planned,” the letter states.

St. Michael noted that the Federal Government has recently placed its highest priorities on the Federal Interstate System, “and we feel strongly that MNDOT needs to do the same.”

The city said its segment of I-94 from Maple Grove to St. Cloud is only 1.6% of Minnnesota’s IRC, yet under MNDOT’s current plan, the city is projected to have 40% of the IRC congestion.

“This is unacceptable to us and should be to you as well,” St. Michael said. “IRC Mobility needs to be a top priority of MNDOT in order to ensure long term economic viability for Minnesota businesses, our City, County, and State.”

While acknowledging that the city recognizes and appreciates the need for pavement/bridge preservation, it said the MNDOT plan must include preservation and mobility, not preservation or mobility.

The city also said the I-94 Corridor supports one of the fastest growing regions in the state.

“Our residents and businesses depend on the I-94 Corridor to move throughout the region in a cost-effective, efficient, and safe manner,” the city said. “The crash and severity rates on I-94 in our region are already well above the state average and only likely to worsen without improvements.”

Additionally, the city wants MNDOT to know that this corridor serves many beyond the region, functioning as a national artery for the trucking industry in the U.S. with thousands of trucking companies utilizing this corridor. And that the city’s hospitality industry also depends on the corridor, as it is the premier gateway for thousands of Minnesotans who travel up north for vacation and recreation.

“It’s time to take a new look at what this stretch of roadway really needs … and that’s additional lanes, which are needed NOW!” the city concluded.