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MnDOT awards $25 million for Local Road Improvement Program projects

On the south side of Highway 210, Cypress Drive now ends in a dead end. Trees and small hills separate it from the highway and the BNSF Railway corridor. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch file photo1 / 3
A roundabout will be created at Cypress and Excelsior Road near Super One Foods as Cypress Drive is connected creating a new crossing at Highway 210 in Baxter. 2 / 3
Plans are to link Cypress Drive, connecting the two segments of the street with a new intersection across Highway 210. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch. 3 / 3

ST. PAUL—Thirty-six Minnesota cities, counties and townships received funding to improve transportation infrastructure on local roads through the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Local Road Improvement Program, including Aitkin, Baxter and Little Falls.

About $25.3 million in projects will help reduce traffic crashes on rural county state aid highways and local roads with regional significance. The funding also will help pay for the local share of a trunk highway project.

Projects range from roundabouts, sidewalk and pedestrian ramps, widening and repaving of roadways, adding traffic signals and replacing culverts. One new bridge is included in the project list.

"This program promotes local, regional and state economic development, and improves safety on township, city and county roads," said Commissioner Charlie Zelle, in a news release.

The program is funded out of the 2017 general obligation bonds.

MnDOT received more than 200 applications totaling more than $584 million. Selection was based on geographical distribution, safety, regional significance, local agency support, construction readiness, impact and availability of other funding sources.

6 projects in central Minnesota receive funding

Cities and counties in central Minnesota received a total of $9.6 million to fund the following six projects that will be constructed beginning in 2018 or 2019:

• Reconstruction of Morrison County Road 257/138th Street between Airport Road and 16th Avenue in Little Falls—$900,000.

• Connecting Cypress Drive to Highway 210, construct two new roundabouts, new railroad crossing and signal, and other improvements in Baxter—$6 million.

• Sherburne County Road 5 safety improvements, including new turn lane and signal improvements at Hiawatha Avenue in Big Lake—$650,000.

• Reconstruct Pine Cone Road and add roundabouts in Sartell—$800,000.

• Reconstruct First Street Northwest and improve drainage in Aitkin—$500,000.

• Reconstruct, widen and add shoulders along Island Lake Road in Wakefield Township, Stearns County—$750,000.

Go to for the complete list of funded projects.

Transportation funding deficit persists

In 2017, Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature provided an additional $640 million in trunk highway bonding over the next four years as well as $164 million in cash. This additional funding will reduce Minnesota's annual $600 million transportation funding gap by $200 million for each of the next four years. However, Minnesota's $600 million annual funding gap will resume in 2022.