Olmsted County’s cost of paving and redesigning an approximately 1.5-mile stretch of County Road 101 is being reduced by state funding.
“The project fell within the timeline that it would work to receive (Local Road Improvement Program) funds, so we applied,” said County Engineer Ben Johnson.
The county will receive $1.25 million from the Minnesota Department of Transportation program for the estimated $7 million project, which will create a new connection at 48th Street Southeast, east of Lowe's Home Improvement.
The current intersection at St. Bridget Road and 45th Street will remain open, but 45th Street will end in a cul-de-sac east of the crossing as the redesigned county road dips south.
The road construction project was to have started this month, but Johnson said environmental work led to a delay. The county now plans to seek a contractor this fall and start clearing trees for the new roadway.
“The lion’s share of the construction will start in the early spring,” he said.
The project is intended to improve safety on the section that has not been reconstructed since it became a county road in 1969.
The county was planning to fund the full project, which will include a 10-ton roadway and a multi-use trail, with revenue from its share of sales taxes. The work also includes a roundabout at the intersection of County Road 101 and County Road 1 at the east end of the project.
Highway 14 and 60th Avenue Northwest
With the announcement of the County Road 101 funding, Johnson said the county also received confirmation of $6 million in state funds for engineering work related to a proposed interchange at the intersection of U.S. Highway 14 and 60th Avenue, formerly known as County Road 104.
Johnson said the county plans to hire an engineering firm to help design the proposed interchange later this year.
The interchange project is expected to cost $40 million, and county officials continue to lobby state lawmakers to fund a portion of construction.
“We have our money; we’re ready to go,” said Olmsted County Commissioner Jim Bier. “This is something that the state, it’s part of their responsibility to fund the interchanges.”
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced that it's making plans to modify the intersection to address safety concerns until a larger project is funded.
Byron’s 20th Street Northeast
In addition to the county road projects, the state transportation department’s recent funding announcement included $1.25 million for a 1-mile stretch of 20th Street Northeast in Byron.
“It’s a gravel road right now,” said Byron Public Works Superintendent Tom Ricke. “It’s going to be a full-blown urban section with curb and gutter, with bike paths on it.”
He said the state funds will cover about a third of preliminary cost estimates.
Ricke said the city is waiting for additional grant information to determine when the project needs to start and be completed.
“We’re waiting to find out if it needs to be done in 2022 or what the actual required completion date is,” he said.