MnDOT says that the work it has lined up for 2020 will also improve safety and support construction jobs across the state. Some of the projects have already begun and others—such as the work on State Highway 5 around Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport—are proceeding ahead of schedule in light of the reduced traffic volumes in Minnesota due to statewide efforts to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In addition, MnDOT will work on another 66 projects to make improvements to airports, ports, transit, and railroads that are outside of the state road construction program.
“It is critical that MnDOT continue its work to maintain and improve our state’s transportation infrastructure,” Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher said in a statement. “A safe, reliable, and multimodal transportation system is essential to keeping our state running in times of crisis. MnDOT construction projects will continue as scheduled and within the guidance set by state and federal health officials to prevent further spread of COVID-19. We are especially grateful to our employees and partners in labor and the private sector for working together and prioritizing safety for workers on project sites.”
Gov. Tim Walz provided an exemption for workers engaged in roadway construction, maintenance, and utility projects in the Stay at Home Executive Order 20-20 put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. Thus, transportation construction and maintenance workers are considered essential.
This year’s program features a number of projects in the Twin Cities metro area, including the I-35 Harris/Rush City program which will resurface more than 8 miles between Harris and the Chisago/Pine County line. Greater Minnesota will also see significant work this summer, including Hwy 72 in Baudette, which will replace an international bridge; this multi-year project will see the new bridge open later this summer, after which the old bridge will be demolished and removed.
SOURCE: Minnesota DOT