Highway projects increase regional mobility and safety 

Date: Sunday, December 17, 2023

Increasing safety and mobility on the regional highway system are two key goals of transportation policy at the Metropolitan Council. In December, the Met Council added five major road projects to planned transportation investments to help achieve these goals. Two projects will begin construction in 2024; three more are also fully funded but have a longer timetable before construction begins.

Projects to begin in 2024 in Wright and Scott counties

  • Expanding I-94 from two lanes to three in each direction on the eight miles between Albertville and Monticello.
  • Adding an interchange on U.S. Highway 169 and Delaware Avenue (County State-Aid Highway 59) southwest of Jordan.

Ensuring mobility includes roads and transit

“Twin Cities residents may be more familiar with the Met Council’s role in transit operations,” said Charles Carlson, executive director of Metropolitan Transportation Services. “We’re also highway planners, working closely with MnDOT and local governments, to ensure we make transportation choices available that provide mobility throughout the region.”

Investing in mobility isn’t a question of roads or transit. Carlson said it’s the combination of roads and transit, as well as biking and walking facilities, that ensures residents have the options they need to get where they’re going.

Carlson said the approved projects add capacity, but they also enhance safety on the highway system.

Maple Grove Mayor Mark Steffenson cites the economic benefits of completing the I-94 freeway expansion “gap,” and anticipates a significant decrease in travel time delays. “The ability of this artery to handle capacity efficiently and safely is key to Minnesota’s vitality,” he said.

Longer-term highway projects in Anoka and Dakota counties

The Met Council also approved three additional projects that are expected to begin construction within the next one to three years.
  • Expand Highway 10 in Coon Rapids from two to three lanes between Hanson and Round Lake boulevards.
  • Convert an intersection on Highway 65 at 117th Avenue in Blaine to an interchange as part of a larger project.
  • Convert intersections on Highway 13 to grade separations between Quentin Avenue in Savage and Nicollet Avenue in Burnsville.

“These projects are very important to not just Scott County, but the entire region,” said Lisa Freese, Scott County Transportation Services Director, who advocated for two of the projects. “The 169/59 interchange will improve local connections and the Highway 13 project will enhance safety and efficient movement of freight.”

Joe MacPherson, Anoka County Transportation & County Engineer, is enthusiastic about the Coon Rapids and Blaine projects. “Both of these projects will improve reliability, safety, and mobility along their respective corridors,” he said.

Funding for these projects comes from a variety of sources, including state Corridors of Commerce funds, bond proceeds, local sales tax funds, and other state and federal funds.

Posted In: Transportation

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