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New building program
With that out of the way, the County Board last week turned to much more contentious issues, including what sort of plea to lay before the state as it mulls the spending of more than $300 million in a new “Corridors of Commerce” highway building program.
The program aims to fix bottlenecks and the like on major roadways used by freight haulers and other commerce, Freese said.
There was a lot of interest among board members in pushing for multiple Scott County projects, notably along Hwy. 169.
But top staffers pushed back hard, in a way that’s more typical of behind-the-scenes workshops than televised board meetings.
County Administrator Gary Shelton warned:
“We will lose some oomph if we put in projects that are not eligible. [A proposed fix in Belle Plaine] has generally finished at the bottom when we’ve applied for money. If you dilute it, there’s a tendency to have the state discount everything we put in…
“The Belle Plaine project is important, but it has no chance, it doesn’t meet any of the criteria other than that it’s on 169. I’d advise against the shotgun approach.”
The county will seek money for a new intersection at Hwy. 169 and Hwy. 41, now that a major new flood-proof bridge over the Minnesota River somewhere in the Shakopee-to-Chaska corridor seems unlikely to be built before 2040.
Highway planners signaled as well that they already are gazing a few years down the road to when the I-35W bridge across the Minnesota River gets rebuilt. They will lobby to add a lane there — an idea that’s liable to be furiously fought by anti-sprawl advocates.
David Peterson • 952-746-3285