Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Ten Minnesota highway projects on the fast track to ease congestion and support commerce

Minnesota officials outlined how they plan to spend $300 million on 10 highway improvement projects that will ease congestion and help move freight around the state.

The project, “Corridors of Commerce,” was funded by the Legislature last session.

The selected improvements are:

  • Hwy. 2
    Add three passing lanes to a 38-mile portion of Hwy. 2 between Deer River and Cass Lake. $8 million-10 million., Starting in 2014.
  • I-94
    Add lanes from MN 101 to MN 241. $35 million-46 million. Starting in 2014.
  • Hwy. 34
    Passing lanes from Detroit Lakes to Nevis. $11 million-15 million. Starting in 2014.
  • Hwy. 610
    New freeway connection from Hennepin County Road 81 to I-94. $103 million-131 million. Starting in 2014.
  • Hwy. 14
    4-lane east of Owatonna. $16 million-20 million, starting in 2014.
  • Hwy. 14
    4-lane from No. Mankato to Nicollet. $20-28 million. Starting in 2015.
  • Hwy. 14
    Nicollet Bypass (4    lane). $15 million-25 million. Starting in 2015.
  • I-694
    Dynamic shoulder lane from Rice Street to Lexington Avenue $35 million-42 million. Starting in 2015.
  • Hwy. 23
    Passing lanes from Willmar to I-90. $13 million-19 million. Starting in 2016.
  • Hwy. 169
    2 to 4-lane expansion of TH 169 from Itasca County Road 15 to one mile east of Itasca County Rd. 7. Starting in 2016.

 MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle said of the plan:

“These critical improvements demonstrate our commitment to providing a commerce-friendly network of freight corridors to ship goods and provide safety and mobility to all users.”

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/14/2013 - 03:49 pm.

    What? No roundabouts?

    Somebody clearly missed the memo!

  2. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 11/14/2013 - 04:35 pm.

    Road Spending

    And people complain about a few bucks spent on striping streets for bikes…

    • Submitted by Jeff Klein on 11/15/2013 - 09:48 am.

      Wait, nobody told you?

      Money for car infrastructure grows on trees. But spending it on bikes, pedestrians, or transit is wasteful government social engineering.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/15/2013 - 12:18 pm.

        Empty Paths

        Considering how empty many of the paths often are, how else do you rationalize the expenditures?

        Especially the ones that are totally separate from the roads with their own bridges.

        • Submitted by Jeff Klein on 11/15/2013 - 03:41 pm.

          I can’t imagine what you’re talking about. The Greenway is packed all summer. The right way to look at is to consider mode share. Bikers represent about 5% of commuters in Minneapolis. Bike infrastructure is absolutely not even close to 5% of the budget.

          I would further argue that the city has a whole host of reasons to encourage biking and thus should be spending more than the mode share percentage on bikers, but even if you don’t buy that argument you can’t justify spending less than that.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/15/2013 - 04:43 pm.


            May be for Minneapolis proper, however I would appreciate a source. And I am assuming it is closer to 0% for half the year.

            This article is State wide, do you think bikers account for 5% of the total person miles travelled in MN. I am guessing it is much much lower since typically only 1 person is on a bike and the rides are likely shorter. Then of course not too much commercial product is moved on the bike paths either.

            If you are concerned about bike paths in the densely populatated metro, you should probably lobby to get some more of those out state bike path funds. My heartburn is with all the beautiful bike paths that are built like seperate roads about 50 ft off the road. With there own bridges, tunnels, etc. And they typically are pretty empty and not used for commuting.

            • Submitted by Jeff Klein on 11/15/2013 - 05:13 pm.

              This is circular. We have hardly any bike infrastructure and your conclusion is well, people don’t bike so let’s built more roads.

              Why do people drive? Decisions we made to make that the most viable method of transportation, and now it appears that roads justify more roads. People drive because we ripped out an entire street car system and shut down trains and paved over the entire goddamn country and now that we’re sprawled ourselves into perpetual gridlock our conclusion is, stunningly, more roads are the solution.

              Fifty years from now when the planet is six degrees warmer and gas is $20 a gallon and we have a billion miles of roads to maintain we’re going look back and wonder why the hell we didn’t build some bike paths instead. And it will be too late.

  3. Submitted by John Appelen on 11/14/2013 - 07:45 pm.


    It is amazing they still are doing nothing about 494N.

    The logic of having a major highway going from 3 lanes to 2 in the heart of the city escapes me…. (ie goes to 2 at Hwy 55, goes back to 3 at Bass Lake rd)

    Maybe they can’t justify bike lane striping because they are spending all the bike money on new country trails and incredible tunnels and bridges. The one along 61 on the north shore has to be costing a fortune.

    And the bridge in St. Boni for this trail is huge.

  4. Submitted by John Appelen on 11/16/2013 - 05:59 am.

    Sprawl and Bike Paths

    I don’t disagree with you that metro bike paths and transit are important, However a beautiful paved stand alone bike path with its own bridges in rural MN is still just for recreation and tourism.

    In MN we also have the Winter problem, so we still have to have enough roads and transit to handle the people for ~6 months of the year, when the paths are iced over.

    After spending time in S Korea and China this year, I am hoping we choose population stabilization over urbanization. They have 20+ story apartment buildings / condos everywhere, and are building hundreds more. I was so happy to get back to our sprawling suburbs.

Leave a Reply