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home : opinion : opinion April 29, 2016

11/20/2012 10:55:00 AM
Let's get US 14 brought up to code

We have had too many deaths on U.S. 14 between Dodge Center and Owatonna to allow replacing this deadly stretch to continue to be delayed-but it will take a lot of letters, phone calls and personal contacts to get this project moved up on the schedule at the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Are we ready to work together to demand that the Minnesota Legislature and the Minnesota Department of Transportation fund this project and get it scheduled for the earliest possible construction season?

Right now, upgrading US 14 is in MNDoT's plans but not for many years. If nothing is done to change those plans, we can anticipate at least the same experience with fatalities we've had the past ten years-an average of more than one death each year. Our experience could, in fact, be even worse. We have to act now to prevent as many of those impending deaths as possible by persuading MNDoT to accelerate needed improvements.

It is possible to persuade MNDoT to change its plans, although it is difficult. Highway projects take a lot of advance planning and work before any actual construction takes place-and none, or at least very little, advance planning and work takes place before funding has been approved.

The legislature must be persuaded to approve funding for the necessary upgrade, which will require $150-200 million, depending on when it is approved. The earlier it is approved, the lower the cost will be. As the economy improves and there are more heavy construction contracts being bid, the cost will increase. Getting the funding approved as soon as possible is in everyone's best interest.

With the new state house and senate districts, we have a lot more representation from Dodge County to work for us at the state legislature. That should work to our favor, but we have to make it clear to our representative what we want them to do.

Next week, we will present you, our readers with a list of all our local representatives with phone numbers, email addresses and postal delivery addresses so that you can begin contacting them to let them know what you want them to do.

We will also supply a list of people at the Minnesota Department of Transportation who are involved in the decision making process regarding US 14 and the contact information for those people.

We will also present you with contact information for Governor Mark Dayton, as his support will also be necessary.

We will also contact our local representatives to schedule some local public meetings so we can talk to them about what we can do to help them get the necessary legislation passed to fund upgrading US 14. We will let you know when those meetings are scheduled so that you can participate.

We will need our local governments to join us in demanding the state accelerate work on US 14. They can do this by resolution and by letters to representatives and state agencies.

What I am suggesting is that we become the squeakiest wheel in Minnesota highway funding for as long as it takes to get the job done. What do you say-are you willing to really get involved in making US 14 between Dodge Center and Owatonna safe for our families, friends and neighbors?

Larry Dobson

Claremont Service

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Buecksler

People drive way too fast on that piece of 14! If you're not doing 70 MPH, you're likely to get run over. I had to go to the Mayo Clinic Mon., Weds., Fri. every week for over 6 months and believe me I saw a little of about everything on that road! I almost got in a head on accident at the RR crossing early one morning. I was doing 55 which wash't fast enough for the guy behind me. He tried to pass me on the corner by the tracks, as we were meeting a car. At a minimum they should have more patrols out there every day. You can go weeks with out seeing a squad car.

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