June 30th, 2014
Courtesy of the I-94 Coalition
The I-94 Coalition invited state and local leaders to help them ceremoniously begin the new lane expansion project
St. Michael – Senator Amy Klobuchar, Representative Michele Bachmann, MnDOT Commissioner Charles Zelle, local elected officials, and the I-94 West Corridor Coalition gathered today to celebrate the beginning of a well-deserved I-94 lane expansion project that stretches about 3 miles from Highway 101 in Rogers to Highway 241 in St. Michael. The project is a part of the Corridors of Commerce Program and has been heralded by local officials as a perfect example of transportation dollars being spent to address crucial interstate needs around the state.
“Transportation projects funded by the Corridors of Commerce initiative will reduce travel times, improve safety for Minnesota citizens, and help our businesses transport their products more efficiently,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “The number of projects from all over our state, which sought financing from this program, underscores the acute need for more transportation funding to meet the needs of our state’s growing economy.” (Governor Dayton was not able to attend due to his responsibility to the areas across the state affected by flooding.)
The project will add a westbound lane from Highway 101 to Highway 241, and an auxiliary lane eastbound from Highway 241 to Highway 101. MnDOT projects the cost to be between $32 and $37 million.
Area leaders have advocated for this expansion not just because of the headaches it will relieve regarding congestion. Several local businesses have shared the financial ramifications of congestion on I-94, and both federal and local leaders have made the positive economic impact of the project a point of emphasis.
“A little more than a year ago, this project was barely on the radar of statewide leaders. I made it one of my top priorities in my final term as the Representative of the Sixth District and I am proud to have been a part of the effort to ensure lane expansion on I-94. This project will increase mobility, enhance safety, create jobs and keep Minnesotans moving and I look forward to the continued expansion of the vital I-94 corridor all the way to St Cloud,” said Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
MnDOT Commissioner Charles Zelle spoke briefly about the project and mentioned that the I-94 Corridor Coalition was essential in getting the project on the map and in front of the right people at the right time.
“This project is so very important to this part of the state, our economy and quality of life and to all traffic that moves on I-94 between the Twin Cities and points west,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “The I-94 coalition has been and will continue to be a strong and important champion for this corridor.”
“To put it simply, this is a big day for our area. The positive impact that this project will have on commerce, safety, freight traffic and commuter traffic is undeniable. Many people have spent significant amounts of time and energy to add lanes to I-94. I can’t emphasize enough how fantastic it is to see all of this coming together,” Steve Bot, Chairman, I-94 West Corridor Coalition.
The project will officially begin in July, with a projected completion date of sometime in the fall of 2015. MnDOT has assured local leaders that a specific requirement was to keep 4 lanes open on I-94 at peak usage hours, so as not to disrupt current traffic volumes.
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