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SW Minn. highways featured in long-range MnDOT plan

MARSHALL — Nearly every state highway in area counties is included in the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s current 10-year construction plan.

Megan DeSchepper, a MnDOT senior planner, summarized the long range plan this week in a presentation to the Lincoln County Board. She began by reviewing projects scheduled from 2020-2023, which are at a stage when funds are being budgeted and which are therefore very unlikely to be delayed.

“The schedule for the next four years is pretty much set in stone,” DeSchepper said. “Beyond that, we can’t be sure how all of the factors for funding and road conditions will play out. It’s possible that some projects beyond 2023 could move up or down in the plan.”

Two area highway sections are on the docket for 2020. They include Minnesota Highway 23 between Cottonwood and Granite Falls and U.S. Highway 75 in the Madison area.

Other upcoming projects are shoulder widening followed by bonded wearing course application on Minnesota Highway 68 from Marshall to Minneota in 2021-22, a U.S. Highway 212 concrete overlay between Granite Falls and Renville in 2021, reconstruction of U.S. Highway 59 and a mill and overlay on Minnesota Highway 30 in an area between Garvin and Westbrook in 2022, and a reclamation and overlay on Minnesota Highway 271 in the Hendricks area in 2023.

Two of the region’s main arteries, Minnesota Highway 23 and U.S. Highway 14, both figure into the MNDOT planning process from 2024-29.

The area of Highway 23 between Russell and Pipestone is tentatively set for mill and overlay in 2024.

Pavement overlay on the north edge of Marshall is planned for 2027, and pavement rehabilitation from Marshall to Russell is slated to follow in 2029.

U.S. Highway 14 between Lake Benton and Tracy is set for overlay and some reconstruction work in 2027. The project includes improvements in Tyler to meet American Disability Act requirements along the highway.

“On major roads we try to complete a large amount of upgrades in one process if possible,” DeSchepper said. “Both roads have proposals that include highway lengths of about 30 miles.”

Five additional area highways are scheduled for construction work in 2028 and 2029. The 2028 projects include Minnesota Highway 68 between Minneota and Canby, U.S. Highway 59 between Marshall and Garvin, and Minnesota Highway 75 south of Pipestone.

Projects in 2029 as of the current 10-year plan feature Minnesota Highway 19 in Lincoln County east of Ivanhoe and a portion of Minnesota Highway 71 south of Redwood Falls.

The MNDOT 10-year plan also involves an extensive set of area bridge replacements, as well as some reconstruction work on small road sections in or near city limits.

Lincoln County Commissioner Mic VanDeVere of Tyler said members of the Minnesota Highway 23 Coalition, including Lincoln County, are asking for the best possible road surface in the planned 2024 project. Concrete, like what’s in place for more northerly parts of the highway, is the preferred surface material.

“The concrete shouldn’t end in Marshall,” VanDeVere said. “There’s a cost to extend it out, but maintenance savings could make up for that. It could be the best long range option for both motorists and taxpayers.”

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