Project to commence in 2014
By Neil Salminen
Murphy News Service
Construction of Hwy. 610 between County Rd. 81 and Interstate-94 is set to start in 2014.
Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced that 10 “Corridors of Commerce” projects will receive funding through the state’s new $300 million budget to boost highway capacity and improve freight movement statewide.
“These projects will reduce travel times and improve safety for Minnesota citizens, and help our businesses transport their products more efficiently,” said Gov. Dayton. “The number of projects from all over our state, which sought financing from this program, underscores the acute need for more transportation funding.”
The preliminary estimate to finish the construction of Hwy. 610 is $103 million to $131 million, which is by far the largest funded project of the 10 projects. The second largest project is addition of lanes on I-94 between Hwy. 101 in Rogers and Hwy. 241 in St. Michael which will receive between $35 million to $46 million.
“The northwest suburbs really got the lion’s share of the funding in this budget and it has been a long time coming,” said State Sen. Warren Limmer.
Local city governments and state politicians have been working on getting Hwy. 610 completed for well over 10 years.
“I am proud to be a part of the team of people who have put this project together,” said State Rep. Kurt Zellers. “We hope this project will make the northwest suburbs more attractive for larger businesses.”
The 2-mile stretch of Hwy. 610 is ready to be constructed and will hopefully be underway by summer 2014.
“This project is as close to ready as can be,” said Zellers. “Funding for this project has been a lifelong political goal and something I have been a part of since I was a junior staffer for Sen. Rod Grams.”
Transportation improvements include the addition of lanes, bypasses and shoulders to essential travel corridors in the state. The selected projects were among more than 400 proposals representing more than 100 unique projects that MnDOT received earlier this fall from public sector partners, stakeholders and interested citizens across the state. Agency staff evaluated eligible projects on selections criteria that included project readiness, community support, projected return on investment and safety impacts.
“These projects represent a great first step for the Corridors of Commerce Program,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “These critical improvements demonstrate our commitment to providing a commerce friendly network of freight corridors to ship goods and provide safety and mobility to all users.”
Enacted during the 2013 legislative session, the Corridors of Commerce Program authorizes trunk highway bonding to be used for projects that are not already in the state’s four-year State Transportation Improvement Program. The legislation established two major goals for the program: to increase highway capacity on segments where bottlenecks occur and to improve the movement of freight and reduce barriers to commerce.
Maple Grove city council members and public works members have been working with state representatives and senators to secure the funding for the Hwy. 610 project.
“I have greatly appreciated the efforts of local city officials, including the mayor and council members of Maple Grove,” said Limmer. “They have done a tremendous about legwork and deserve a tremendous amount credit as we have worked together over the years.”