Gov. Mark Dayton announced Tuesday that major safety improvements will be made on Hwy. 14 in south central Minnesota.
Stretches of that highway have been deemed quite dangerous, with more accidents that usual reported.
Dayton said MnDOT has committed to expand the highway to four lanes from North Mankato to Nicollet:
“This segment of Highway 14 has proven to be particularly dangerous, and today’s actions will be important steps to reduce both congestion and accidents. I remain committed to making Highway 14 a four-lane highway ‘from border to border’ (Minnesota’s western border to its eastern border). The frustrating slowness in achieving that goal underscores the critical need to find more resources for highway improvements throughout Minnesota.”
And MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel said:
“One of the findings in [a safety audit] was that drivers along this stretch have a lower rate of seat belt use and tend to drive faster than posted speed limits. We are working with the State Patrol to provide more enforcement to address those issues as well other driver behaviors that contribute to crashes.”
That state has a three-phase plan:
- Already being implemented is increased traffic enforcement to crack down on potentially dangerous driving behavior that has been common on this stretch of highway.
- Construction of a widened median to create a buffer between the existing two lanes of traffic.
- A four-lane expansion of Highway 14 from North Mankato to Nicollet, to begin in 2017 or 2018.
Estimated cost of all three phases: $21.5 million to $35 million.