This commentary is from a few news articles on various Minnesota highway projects. This was posted on June 2, 2006.

Minnesota news (MN 36, MN 371, US 169)

A few highway news items of note from around Minnesota:

- Minnesota could see its own smaller version of the "Hyperfix" next year under a plan that MnDOT has for a project on MN 36. The plan would shut down MN 36 through North St. Paul, between White Bear Ave and MN 120, for 5 months in 2007. MnDOT estimates the shutdown would save a year and about $3.5 million off of the project. Right now MN 36 is an at-grade expressway through that area, with two traffic lights IIRC and several other intersections. The proposed project will reconstruct MN 36 through the area, adding an interchange at McKnight Rd, an overpass at Margaret, auxiliary lanes between the ramps at White Bear Ave and McKnight Rd, and eliminate the two traffic signals and four other at-grade intersections that exist along the segment.

The shutdown will affect almost 40,000 vehicles a day (based on 2004 traffic counts), but in the end, the project will in effect create a short freeway segment along MN 36 from Hazelwood St to MN 120, though there will still be traffic lights on both sides of this short segment.

One interesting aspect of the project is an off-ramp from westbound MN 36 to the 12th Ave/Margaret St intersection. I asked the project manager about that and he replied that it was due to the previous need to prohibit left turns from northbound MN 120 onto 16th Ave, an intersection that sits VERY close to the north side of the MN 36/MN 120 intersection.

This article was written by the Pioneer Press (St. Paul) and carried by several other news venues across the state:

- In MN 371 news, MnDOT's District 3 recently announced that the next phase of MN 371 4-lane widening, from Nisswa to Pine River, has been pushed back to 2014 due to funding issues. It was previously scheduled to start in the 2008-2010 timeframe. This is consistent with an E-mail I got from a MnDOT engineer within District 3 that said several other projects across the district have been delayed, due in part to higher materials costs but also less-than-expected federal highway funding...actual funding has been less than what was projected in SAFETEA-LU, at least in Minnesota. She told me that the widening on MN 23 between MN 95 and Foley has been delayed, and the project on US 169 near Mille Lacs Lake has been dropped entirely, though that one was also due in part to disagreement between MnDOT and the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe about where to route a 4-lane US 169.

This was reported in the Lake Country Echo, out of Pequot Lakes:

On a related note, there's a petition push by some Pequot Lakes residents to get MnDOT to build the 4-lane MN 371 as a bypass of the city, instead of the "preferred alternative" that will upgrade MN 371 through town.

- As reported in the Mankato Free Press, an upcoming 2009 project on US 169 in St Peter plans on replacing the center left turn lane with a raised median, in order to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, although some businesses are concerned and even opposed to a median:

Back to the Roadtrip Report Archive
Back to Magnolia Meanderings

(C) 2007, Adam Froehlig