April 16, 2007

Up and coming road construction projects

By Jenni Sebora

Highways 7, 12, and 212 have been experiencing “facelifts” and are among the various road construction projects underway throughout the state.

All of these road projects are headed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation – MnDOT as we know it.

MnDOT is divided into eight regional areas – seven Greater Minnesota district offices and the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.

Most of the day-to-day operations are managed at the district level, including maintenance and highway right of way issues and highway construction projects, according to the MnDOT web site, www.dot.state.mn.us.

District 3, which encompasses much of central Minnesota, including all or parts of Wright, Sherburne, and Stearns counties, has the largest population base outside of the Twin Cities metro area.

The district’s southern boundary is located adjacent to the metro area and is quickly becoming part of the greater urbanized area with a strong commuter demand, the web site noted.

The Highway 12, “super-two” highway project from Cokato to Delano is among the major road renovations in District 3. This project involves Cokato, Howard Lake, Montrose, and Delano.

“Super-two” is a two-lane highway with wide shoulders and periodic passing lanes.

The website noted that Highway 12 from Cokato to Delano is seen as a high priority regional corridor that connects western Minnesota to the Twin Cities, and prior to the reconstruction, the highway did not provide sufficient passing opportunities.

The average annual daily traffic volume in 2004 on Highway 12 was between 8,000 near Cokato and 18,000 near Delano, the web site noted.

By 2030 the volumes are projected to grow to 17,000 and 34,000 respectively.

Progress has been made in reconstructing the highway. The segments from Cokato to Delano have been completed. The reconstruction through Delano will begin in 2007 with completion in 2009.

The total cost of the project when complete will be $66,700,000, according to the web site.

District 8, located in the southwest portion of Minnesota, includes 12 counties (McLeod and Meeker included) and the Twin Cities metro district, which covers the seven county Twin Cities metro area (Carver included), as well as Chisago County, has been experiencing road work on Hwy. 7.

The segment from Silver Lake to St. Bonifacius is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2008, District 8 MnDOT project manager Kelly Brunkhorst noted. With the current estimate larger than projected, the work to be completed is yet to be determined, she added.

Work may include passing lane sections similar to the work completed from Silver Lake to Hutchinson. Some type of pavement work will be completed, Brunkhorst said.

Future work will most likely include roundabouts on Carver County Road 10 and MN Highway 25.

“Both traffic counts at these intersections are equalizing and warrant some type of intersection control,” Brunkhorst said.

“Roundabouts keep traffic flowing and reduce accidents as well as the severity of the accidents,” Brunkhorst said.

With speeds at 60 m.p.h., accidents can be severe; when the speed is reduced, accidents are not as severe, Brunkhorst explained of roundabouts, adding that roundabouts slow traffic down without stopping it.

Work on Highways 7, 15, and 22 in the Hutchinson area is in its second year of work. Work from Montana Street to Shady Ridge Road is the next stretch of road that will receive renovation. Work on this area will begin this month and be open for traffic by Labor Day, Brunkhorst noted.

With regard to U.S. Highway 212, the MnDOT web site explained that as segments of the new Highway 212 are completed, they will be signed as Highway 312 until the fall of 2008, when construction is complete.

At that time, existing Highway 212 will be turned back to Carver and Hennepin Counties and will be given a new number. Existing Highway 312 will become the new Highway 212.

MnDOT facts and figures

District 3 encompasses:

• 1,653 centerline miles (3,984 lane miles) of state, US, and interstate highways

• 460 bridges

• 422 miles of rail line

• 110 miles of paved trails

• 20 airports

• 10 transit systems

• 9 rest areas for traveler safety

• 2 Travel Information Centers

• 718 Adopt-A-Highway groups

Mn/ROAD (Minnesota Road Research Project) on Interstate 94

District 8 encompasses:

• 1,429 centerline miles (2,889 lane miles) of state and federal highways with no interstate

• 354 bridges

• 472 miles of rail line

• 17 airports

• 12 transit systems

• 500+ Adopt-A-Highway Groups keep our highways clean

Metro District:

In 2006, the population totaled almost 3 million.

By 2030, this region is expected to add another 1 million people with 470,000 households and 560,000 jobs.

This growth will generate 15 million trips

per day and 86 million vehicle-miles

traveled per day, which is a 51 percent

increase from 2000 to 2030.

Source: www.dot.state.mn.us

Minnesota Department of Transportation

District 8

Headquarters – Willmar

2505 Transportation Road

Willmar, MN 56201

(320) 231-5195

Regional offices in Marshall

and Hutchinson

Metropolitan District

Waters Edge Building

1500 W. County Road B-2

Roseville, MN 55113

(651) 582-1000

District 3

Headquarters – Baxter

7694 Industrial Park Rd.

Baxter, MN 56425

(218) 828-5700

Second office in St. Cloud

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