11 highway projects funded under new programEleven highway improvement and infrastructure projects in Minnesota have received preliminary approval for nearly $33 million in funding under a joint pilot program launched by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
Eleven highway improvement and infrastructure projects in Minnesota have received preliminary approval for nearly $33 million in funding under a joint pilot program launched by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
The funding was awarded under the new Transportation Economic Development (TED) Pilot Program, designed to improve roads, create jobs and encourage economic development in the state. The funding is contingent on communities providing evidence that they can complete the projects, including documenting that they have additional sources of funding and can meet environmental requirements and other planning standards.
Preliminary funding was designated for projects in Aitkin County, Bloomington, Hennepin County, Marshall, Perham, St. Charles, St. Cloud, Stewartville, Two Harbors, Worthington and Zumbrota.
"This innovative new program is the most formal collaboration ever between DEED and MnDOT," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "The program recognizes that transportation improvements often are a critical ingredient in economic development and contribute to creating and retaining good-paying jobs in Minnesota communities."
Funding for the recommended projects will come from Mn/DOT highway and interchange improvement programs ($30 million) and from DEED's Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Program ($2.5 million) and Innovative Business Development Public Infrastructure Program ($500,000).
"This program recognizes the close connection between sound transportation investments and the ability of Minnesota businesses to grow and compete in national and global markets," said Mn/DOT Commissioner Tom Sorel. "We look forward to continuing to work with DEED, as well as our public and private partners, to ensure a successful outcome for each of these projects."
For more details, go to www.tinyurl.com/TEDprogram.
The following projects received preliminary funding approval:
Aitkin County - $138,750
The funding will upgrade one mile of Highway 5 so that it can handle vehicles with a load capacity of 10 tons per axle. The improvement will enable American Peat Technology to increase production. Total project cost: $555,000.
City of Bloomington - $4.2 million
The city plans to improve the interchange at Interstate 494 and 34th Avenue, which will increase traffic capacity and help reduce accidents. The project also will improve access for local corporate offices, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Mall of America. Total project cost: $6 million.
Hennepin County - $9.4 million
Officials are planning a new entrance ramp to northbound Interstate 35W at Fourth Street South, as well as an auxiliary lane on northbound Interstate 35W from University Avenue SE to Stinson Boulevard. The project will reduce congestion in an area with a high concentration of jobs. It will also create a more direct route from downtown Minneapolis to northbound Interstate 35W. Total project cost: $13.5 million.
City of Marshall - $575,000
The city plans to install turning lanes and a bypass lane on Highway 68 near the proposed Lake Road Industrial Park. Officials are negotiating with businesses that may locate in the park, creating about 100 jobs. Total project cost: $822,500.
City of Perham - $4 million
The funding will pay for construction of an interchange for an existing overpass at Highway 10 and Highway 34. The project will provide better access to Barrel O' Fun, Tuffy's Pet Foods, Kenny's Candies and a new hospital. The project will result in the creation of 240 jobs. Total project cost: $6.7 million.
City of St. Charles - $570,000
A new 20-acre industrial park, adjacent to Interstate 90, off Highway 74, is planned. Funding will pay for roads, turning lanes and utilities in the park. Active Tool and Die and Robotics Redefined/Excel Manufacturing have expressed interest in moving to the park and to adding a total of 45 jobs. The project will help the community recover from the loss of its largest employer, North Star Foods, to a fire in 2009. Total project cost: $2.6 million.
City of St. Cloud - $8 million
An interchange at an existing overpass is planned at Highway 15 and 33rd Street. Adjacent land is a high-growth area where several businesses have expressed an interest in locating. The interchange will increase safety in St. Cloud by reducing traffic that must travel a five-mile circuitous route through one of the city's busiest intersections. Total project cost: $12 million.
City of Stewartville - $400,000
A new road and utilities are planned within an existing business park, located at Highway 63 near Interstate 90 and south of the Rochester International Airport. The city is negotiating with Federal Express and a refrigeration and distribution company to place facilities in the park. Total project cost: $1.6 million.
City of Two Harbors - $1 million
The city plans to close six accesses to Highway 61 and add an intersection to the east side of Highway 61 at Highway 26. Highway 26 will be extended to provide safer access to North Shore Manufacturing and other area businesses. North Shore Manufacturing plans to add 50 jobs in the next five years. Total project cost: $1.7 million.
City of Worthington - $3.3 million
The project, just south of Interstate 90, will extend a four-lane divided section of Highway 59 by another 1,200 feet to the north. Turning lanes and other small projects are also planned to improve access to a new 750-acre industrial/ commercial park and a bioscience park. Bedford Industries is planning to expand in the industrial park. The park is expected to create 440 jobs in the next five years. Total project cost: $4.7 million.
City of Zumbrota - $1.15 million
The project will improve existing roads and upgrade and add utilities along Highway 68. The improvements will provide safer access to Highway 52 for VersaCold - a cold-storage business - and allow for future industrial development in the area. VersaCold is planning a 75,000-square-foot expansion that will add 25 jobs. Total project cost: $2.3 million.
DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency, visit www.PositivelyMinnesota.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PositivelyMN.
For more information about Mn/DOT, visit www.mndot.gov.