MANKATO, Minn. — The federal Economic Development Agency has awarded $9.8 million to the city of Mankato to fix a stretch of highway that gets flooded.
The money will be used to raise Highway 169 between Mankato and Saint Peter, to help keep that stretch dry after seven floods in the past 20 years, including 2010 and 2011. It will ensure the movement of freight even during severe floods.
"Every time that we close the road it adds hours of detour to the local traveling public and businesses," said Scott Morgan, engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. "Highway 169 carries somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 vehicles per day, so you're talking about a lot of impact to a lot of people."
The Mankato to Saint Peter Highway 169 project is planned for 2016. The state will cover the remaining $7 million needed for the project.
Next year, Highway 169 north of Saint Peter will be raised. In 2015, Highway 22 will be elevated where it connects to 169 in Saint Peter. Those are funded with traditional sources of state and federal money.
The total construction cost for the three parts will be about $25 million.
Nicole Griensewic is executive director of the Region Nine Development Commission, which worked with Minnesota transportation officials to apply for the grant. The typical EDA grant is around $1 million, she said.
According to the grant request, the project will mean 500 new jobs and an additional $10 million dollars in new investment.
The federal Economic Development Agency funding was approved in June. The agency will reimburse the state as the money is spent.