Minnesota DOT: Construction Season Stayed on Track Despite COVID-19

The Minnesota Department of Transportation said it advanced or completed more than 200 road and bridge projects during the 2020 construction season, along with 36 projects enhanced safety at railroad crossings and 15 projects extended or repaired runways or other infrastructure at local airports.

[Above photo by the Minnesota DOT]

The agency also stressed that those projects – aimed at “improving all modes of travel” to provide economic and quality-of-life benefits to Minnesota residents – stayed largely on track despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jay Hietpas

“Minnesota’s 2020 construction program represented a broad mix of projects that improved all modes of transportation and provided jobs throughout the state during a challenging year,” noted Jay Hietpas, Minnesota DOT’s assistant commissioner of operations, in a statement.

“While COVID-19 created challenges in some areas, reduced traffic volumes … early in the season helped in some cases to minimize [construction-related] disruptions to travelers,” he added. “We want to thank everyone in both the private and public sectors who helped make this season a success, and worked diligently to keep projects on track.”

Notable projects completed in 2020 include the Highway 5 “Around the Airport” construction near MSP International Airport; the new Highway 63 Bridge in Red Wing; concrete resurfacing and safety improvements along 18 miles of Highway 23 between Cottonwood and Granite Falls; and reconstruction of five miles of Highway 210 west of Fergus Falls.

In addition, two important multi-year projects kicked off as planned in 2020 – the Twin Ports Interchange in Duluth and improvements to Interstate 94 between Maple Grove and Clearwater.

In 2018, the Minnesota DOT released its 2019-2028 Capital Highway Investment Plan or CHIP, which details planned investments for Minnesota’s highway network during the next decade.

That plan targets more than 760 pavement projects and nearly 380 bridge projects, as well as other efforts that, if completed, would improve traveler safety and mobility, rest stop and weigh station maintenance, and freight movement.

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