4/5/2013 12:41:00 PM Highway 14 could expand into four lanes Bill covers from Dodge Center to Owatonna
By David Richards
Highway 14 is a staple for Byron residents. The stretch of road enables motorists to get to Mayo Clinic and IBM via Highway 52 in one direction and allows them access to both Iowa and the Twin Cities via I-35 in the other direction.
Legislation to fund Highway 14 improvements was heard at the end of March in the House Finance Committee.
The bill, according to a report released by the office of Rep. Patti Fritz (DFL-Faribault), provides bonds to complete the four-lane expansion of Highway 14 between Owatonna and Dodge Center. The next step for the bill is the Capital Investment Committee.
"Highway 14 is vital to southern Minnesota's well-being," said Rep. Fritz, the bill's sponsor. "Traffic in this area is increasing and Dodge and Steele counties are growing. We must update this highway to keep up with the growing population and economic activity."
A woman whose husband died in a Highway 14 crash delivered emotional testimony to the committee,
Reports indicate that from 2002 to 2011, there were 49 fatalities and 34 serious injury crashes on Highway 14 between New Ulm and Rochester. Of these, nine fatalities, and seven serious injuries occurred between Owatonna and Dodge Center.
"I woke up to a phone call early the day after the election to hear that a man had been killed on this stretch of the highway," Rep. Fritz said.
"For me, the issue has become personal, and I want to make sure that Highway 14 is safe for our family, friends and community. We can't afford to put this project off. The lingered wait, the higher the costs of the project and the more lives we risk losing."