Rep. Johnson: Working on Highway 14

To the editor:

When I arrived here at St. Paul last month, I put needed improvements of the Highway 14 right at the top of my to-do list. Anyone who has traveled the New Ulm-Rochester stretch of that highway knows that this isn’t a project we can push aside any longer.

There are some reasons for hope that this year the needs of Highway 14 may finally be addressed. Gov. Mark Dayton has included money to turn Highway 14 into a four-lane expressway from North Mankato and Nicollet in his budget for MnDOT. It will be completed by 2018.

But that just scratches the surface.

We need to turn the entire stretch of road from New Ulm to Rochester into a four-lane highway. And last week, I introduced a bill that asks for bonding dollars to fund the Highway 14/15 interchange at New Ulm. I’m glad to have Rep. Paul Torkelson as a co-author on the bill. I agree with New Ulm Mayor Bob Beussman, who has been arguing that it makes sense to do that project at the same time as the scheduled 2018 replacement of the Highway 15 bridge.

Down the road we need to address the issue of safety. I’m concerned that cars and trucks coming into the Nicollet city limits may fail to slow down, so I have submitted a bill that seeks bonding for a Highway 14/23 bypass.

House Transportation Finance Committee Chair Frank Hornstein called Highway 14 a corridor of commerce. With the recent news that Schell’s Brewery is expanding and Wal-Mart is building a distribution facility in Mankato, that has never been more true. Upgrades to this key stretch of road are an investment by the state that will pay huge dividends in the future.

Clark Johnson


MN House District 19A

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