The “Stay-at-Home” order issued by Governor Walz in response to the COVID-19 pandemic categorizes road construction and infrastructure workers as “essential,” and the Minnesota Department of Transportation has transitioned much of its administrative, planning and engineering staff to working from home. This means that there should not be any major delays in road construction projects, including Highway 14 projects, in the near future. In fact, where it is possible around the state, MnDOT is taking advantage of reduced traffic volumes to move projects along efficiently. MnDOT and its contractors are working together to ensure work can be performed according to public health guidelines.
Here are updates from both the east and west sides of the Highway 14 corridor that reflect what we know about each project at this time.
Owatonna to Dodge Center Construction
So far, construction on the Owatonna to Dodge Center project is moving forward mostly as planned. After the project broke ground last fall, preparation work like tree-clearing started back in January. MnDOT recently announced that demolition work will start this week to begin to remove structures to make way for the new alignment of Highway 14.
The only delays that we have seen so far do not impact construction, but instead involve MnDOT’s public outreach plans. MnDOT had originally planned to hold an open house in April to celebrate the start of construction and share details with the public, but this event was cancelled in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. MnDOT is working to find ways to invite public input on its projects by remote means.
Follow information about this project and sign up for email updates on MnDOT’s website HERE.
After legislative approval, Nicollet to New Ulm work gets rolling
As one of its last acts before suspending nearly all in-person operations in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Minnesota Legislature passed SF 3978/HF 3977, which allows MnDOT to move forward in securing a federal TIFIA loan to complete the segment of Highway 14 between Nicollet and New Ulm. While we will have to wait a while to celebrate this success in person, the MnDOT District 7 office in Mankato is already hard at work making sure the project can get going as soon as possible.
Of course, before the construction work comes the paperwork, but MnDOT’s District 7 office is pushing forward to deliver the project and has adapted to working remotely on the early aspects of the process. The federal loan process itself is estimated to take six to nine months, but the agency has already begun that process. In the meantime, MnDOT has been updating the Nicollet to New Ulm project page on its website regularly as new information becomes available. The page now includes a summary of the work that will be performed and the current understanding of the project timeline, which is as follows:
- Municipal consent from Courtland – Summer/Fall 2020
- Identify needs for land acquisition – Late Spring/Early Summer 2020
- Final design complete – Fall 2021
- Project letting – Winter 2021-22
- Construction – Spring 2022 – Fall 2023
Stay tuned for more updates!