The Minnesota Department of Transportation broke ground on the expansion of U.S. Highway 14 from North Mankato to Nicollet today. Nicollet Mayor Fred Froelich led the ground breaking ceremony, celebrating the safety to the community that will come with a four lane highway. Commissioner Charlie Zelle also commented on how much this improvement will increase safety along Highway 14, and how he and Governor Dayton are fully committed to finishing the expansion of U.S. Highway 14 New Ulm to Rochester. Congressman Tim Walz shared a story common to so many in this part of the State about a neighbor who lost a son in an accident on U.S. Highway 14. He also stressed the disgrace of the Congress in failing to pass a long term transportation funding program and the need for federal money to fund our nation’s infrastructure.
Other dignitaries speaking included Chuck Ackman from Senator Klobuchar’s office who read a letter from the Senator pledging her support for fixing Highway 14, and Jake Schwitzer from Senator Franken’s office who shared a letter of support from Senator Franken. State Senator Kathy Sheran spoke about the importance of finishing Highway 14 and securing long term stable funding for our state’s roads. She also acknowledged the work done to secure funding for Highway 14 in previous legislatures by Reps. Kathy Brynaert and Terry Morrow. Rep. Clark Johnson told how the creation and funding of the “Corridors of Commerce” program funded this section, and the need to pass a long term, bi-partisan transportation package that adopts the best ideas of all the leaders in St. Paul.
U.S. Highway 14 Partnership President Robert Beussman celebrated the ground breaking and reiterated the Partnership’s commitment to finishing the whole project Rochester to New Ulm, New Ulm to Rochester. MnDOT District Engineer Greg Ous and Mathiowetz Construction President Brian Mathiowetz spoke about how excited they were to be getting to work on the project. Mayor Froelich and Nicollet County Commissioner thanked the citizens of Nicollet for their work in adding the voice of the community in the design of the Highway 14-Highway 111 interchange.
The North Mankato to Nicollet project is expected to be complete in October, 2016.