Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel have announced a plan to improve the safety of U.S. Highway 14 between North Mankato and Nicollet, which will be widened to four lanes by 2018.
A MnDOT study of that dangerous stretch of highway found drivers are more likely to be speeders and less likely to use seat belts.
Commissioner Sorel said Phase 1 of the Highway 14 safety improvement is to work with the Minnesota State Patrol to increase enforcement and decrease the poor driving behaviors that lead to crashes.
"Too many people have lost a friend, a neighbor or a loved one on Highway 14," said Rep. Tim Walz (DFL). "This is a big step forward, but there is still work to be done on Highway 14."
That work left to be done includes the construction of a widened median to create a buffer between the existing two lanes of traffic (Phase 2).
The final phase of the project is the four lane expansion from North Mankato to Nicollet. The Highway 14 expansion is expected to begin construction in 2017 or 2018, with a total cost for all three phases between $21.5 million and $35 million.
"I remain committed to making Highway 14 a four-lane highway from border to border," Dayton said. "The frustrating slowness in achieving that goal underscores the critical need to find more resources for highway improvements throughout Minnesota."