It's often said that Minnesota is a state of two seasons, road construction and winter. The first of those has officially ended and second is set to begin as a snow event is in the forecast for Monday.

Over the past six months, drivers have been dodging cones and taking detours while MnDOT fixed roads, bridges all across the state. The agency spent more than $1.1 billion on 308 projects during the 2014 road construction season, which included 74 in the Twin Cities metro area and 194 in Greater Minnesota. Another 40 included improvements to airport terminals, runways and railroad crossings.

“No doubt about it, 2014 was a busy construction year for the state,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “We understand that having hundreds of road construction projects going throughout the summer can slow people’s commutes, but these projects are necessary to ensure that Minnesota’s transportation system is safe, reliable and efficient. Thank you for your patience and support so we can make the most effective use of your tax dollars.” 

Here is a sampler of some of the larger projects that were completed or started in 2014:

Projects in the Twin Cities include:

  • St. Croix Crossing connecting Oak Park Heights, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wisc. – Hwy 36/Hwy 95 and frontage roads construction work in Oak Park Heights and Stillwater continued in 2014. The majority of the road work will wrap up by December. Bridge work included pier columns construction at 12 of 13 pier locations, as well as crossbeam construction at three of five river pier locations. The bridge is expected to open in fall 2016. When this occurs, congestion will be greatly reduced and pedestrian safety will increase in downtown Stillwater. (Construction cost to MnDOT and WisDOT: $580 million - $646 million)
  • I-494 rehabilitation between I-394 and the I-94/I-494/I-694 interchange – The shoulders on southbound I-494 are being reconstructed and widened. Crews widened the County Road 47, Schmidt Lake Road and Canadian Pacific Railway bridges to accommodate traffic changes to occur in 2015 and 2016. In addition, this project will repair and reconstruct the concrete pavement and install a third lane between Hwy 55 and East Fish Lake Road. Project will be completed in 2016. (Construction cost: $86 million)
  • Interstate 35E in St. Paul – Crews are reconstructing I-35E, adding a MnPASS Express Lane to provide more reliable commutes. Crews replaced the Arlington, Wheelock and Larpenteur Avenue bridges. The new Larpenteur Avenue Bridge was slid into place through an innovative, time-saving technology known as slide-in-bridge construction. Three lanes on I-35E southbound were opened and the ramps for all Hwy 36 were reopened. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2015. (Construction cost in 2014: $32.8 million)
  • Hwy 52/Lafayette Bridge – Construction continues on the new southbound bridge crossing the Mississippi River with a completion date of September 2015. The new northbound bridge is carrying both northbound and southbound traffic across the river. The anti-icing system is in place and will be operational this year on the northbound bridge. Rebuilding the two bridges one at a time saves motorists time and money by allowing traffic to use the existing bridge rather than detouring. (Construction cost in 2014: $15 million)
  • Hwy 169 in Edina/Eden Prairie – Crews finished work on a major resurfacing and bridge deck repair project in late September. Work included the repair of 2.3 miles of concrete on Hwy 169 between Bren Road and Valley View Road. The project also included the reconstruction of both Hwy 169 bridge decks over Hwy 62. The concrete pavement and bridge deck repairs will increase the lifespan of the road and both bridges. (Construction cost: $10 million)

Projects in northern and central Minnesota include:

  • Hwy 53 between Virginia and Cook – This project, which expanded 20 miles of Hwy 53 to four lanes, was completed in September and will improve safety and traffic flow. (Construction cost: $32 million)
  • Hwy 33 from I-35 to the Big Lake intersection in Cloquet – This project is removing in-place pavement on Hwy 33 and repaving the road surface with concrete. It is also reconstructing the intersection at Big Lake Road/Doddridge Avenue. (Construction cost: $6.2 million)
  • 15th Street Bridge in Bemidji – Crews replaced and raised the bridge deck, which will improve safety along the bypass, as well as clearance for large trucks. (Construction cost: $1.25 million)
  • I-94 in Monticello This project completed reconstruction of two miles of I-94 in Monticello It also added a new auxiliary lane along westbound I-94 between County Road 18 and Hwy 25, reconfigured the ramps and acceleration lane from Hwy 25 to eastbound I-94, upgraded signal systems and improved drainage. (Construction cost: $17.2 million) 
  • I-94 between Rogers and St. Michael – Reconstruction of two miles of I-94 between Rogers and St. Michael will be complete in fall 2015. This two-year project will add lanes, improve the I-94 bridges spanning the Crow River and construct a noise barrier near high-density housing along westbound I-94. (Construction cost: $28.3 million)   
  • Hwy 10/County Road 2 interchange in Rice – Construction of a new interchange at Hwy 10/County Road 2 in Rice will be complete in November 2014. The two-year project replaces a crash-prone signalized intersection with a full interchange that uses a unique design that preserves local roadways while minimizing project costs. (Construction cost: $11.3 million)
  • Hwy 371 in Nisswa – This project was completed in July and reconstructed four lanes of Hwy 371, improved turn lanes, realigned and provided a new Crow Wing County Road 18 connection. It also improved city infrastructure with a new pedestrian tunnel, improved local roads and utilities, and created better access to the Paul Bunyan Trail. (Construction cost: $7 million; $4.5 million is MnDOT’s share)
  • Hwy 29/Broadway in Alexandria – Crews replaced underground utilities, installed new sidewalks that meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, added several decorative elements and resurfaced the roadway. (Construction cost: $5.5 million)
  • Hwy 10 bridge east of Glyndon – This project replaced the eastbound Hwy 10 bridge over the Buffalo River. The new bridge improves safety and helps preserve the Hwy 10 corridor between Moorhead and Detroit Lakes. (Construction cost: $1.2 million)  
  • Hwy 29 resurfacing and bridge replacements – Work is complete on the Hwy 29 resurfacing project between Benson and Hwy 40. Crews also replaced three bridges. The project used cold-in-place recycling, which is a longer-term fix than a traditional mill and overlay. It’s meant to reduce the amount of maintenance and repair costs over time. (Construction cost: $6.5 million)

Projects in southern Minnesota include:

  • Dresbach Bridge (I-90) Significant progress was made on construction of the bridge piers. Two bridges will carry eastbound and westbound traffic, replacing the existing bridge when the work is complete in 2016. Construction work on the interchanges with Hwy 61 and the Minnesota Travel Information Center progressed well this year. (Construction cost: $187.5 million)
  • Winona Bridge (Hwy 43) Work began in July to build a new bridge across the Mississippi River in Winona and then rehabilitate the existing historic bridge. Work will continue into winter to establish the bridge piers, so that impact from flooding will be minimized in the spring. Work is expected to be completed by 2019. (Construction cost: $142 million)
  • I-35 Owatonna concrete reconstruction and bridge replacement The two-year project is replacing four bridges and the concrete roadway in both directions of I-35. Traffic is open in both directions and the remaining ramp closures will lift Nov. 16. Work will resume in May 2015 on the northbound lanes (Construction cost: $19.1 million)
  • Hwy 52 interchange at Cannon Falls A new interchange was built in Cannon Falls and the final two traffic signals on Hwy 52 between Rochester and the Twin Cities were removed, along with adding access roads and repaving the Hwy through this zone. (Construction cost: $14.3 million)
  • Hwy 14 east of Owatonna Approximately 2.5 miles of Hwy 14 east of Owatonna is being expanded from two lanes to four lanes. Construction for this Corridors of Commerce project started this summer and will wrap up in fall 2015. (Construction cost: $12 million)
  • Hwy 52 and Goodhue County Road 9 interchange Work is set to be completed in November on this quadrant interchange south of Cannon Falls. The work will improve safety by removing an at-grade intersection and carrying Goodhue County Road 9 traffic over Hwy 52 via an overpass. (Construction cost: $6.7 million)
  • Hwy 60, Butterfield to St. James – Crews built two additional lanes for Hwy 60 to remove a gap in the four-lane system. This project, completed early in October, will improve mobility and safety on an important commercial corridor from southwest Minnesota to the Twin Cities. (Construction cost: $14.2 million)
  • Hwy 169, St. Peter to Le Sueur – A flood mitigation project, which includes raising the grade and reconstructing two miles of flood-prone Hwy 169 and resurfacing nine miles of poor pavement, will be completed later this fall. (Construction cost: $11.6 million)
  • Hwy 22 in Mankato – Crews built multi-lane roundabouts at two of the highest crash intersections in the area. MnDOT partnered with the city of Mankato and Blue Earth County on the construction to improve safety and decrease delays. An extensive public outreach and education campaign was conducted to assist area motorists with driving the new roundabouts. (Construction cost: $7 million)
  • Hwy 12 near the Hwy 71 bypass in Willmar  Work is nearing completion on this one-mile reconstruction project on Hwy 12. The project includes constructing a right-turn lane and making Americans with Disabilities Act improvements. (Construction cost: $3 million)    
  • Hwy 7, Montevideo Bridge – Crews replaced the Montevideo Bridge over the Chippewa River. The project began in early February to take advantage of the colder weather and was completed in June. (Construction cost: $2.26 million)    
  • Hwy 274 near Prairie’s Edge Casino Funded and built by the Upper Sioux Community, MnDOT and the Upper Sioux Community joined in a partnership to ensure that this reconstruction and resurfacing project gained the most value possible for the motoring public. (Construction cost: $2 million)

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