The project will expand 12.5 miles of Hwy 14 from two lanes to four lanes between Dodge Center and Owatonna to complete a continuous four-lane road between Mankato and Rochester. The project is intended to improve the capacity, safety, travel times and access between Rochester and Owatonna, as well as the I-35 corridor. The expansion area is a new route for Hwy 14, which will stay south of the railroad tracks on the west side of the project, travel south of Claremont and connect where the four-lane highway is west of Dodge Center. The primary need for the Highway 14 Expansion project is to maintain highway mobility of Highway 14 under future traffic conditions from the City of Owatonna, Steele County to Highway 56 in the City of Dodge Center, Dodge County, Minnesota. At the current traffic volumes, highway safety has been a large concern for years. With only a single lane in each direction, a slow moving vehicle creates long lines of traffic with limited opportunities to pass. Additionally, there are numerous local road intersections and driveway accesses where vehicles turning can create additional slowdowns. Therefore, due to the current lack of a four-lane roadway, in addition, to the lack of access control the highway is not meeting this need. A four-lane roadway with access control will eliminate traffic slowdowns resulting from turning vehicles and will provide the additional lane for passing of slow-moving vehicles. This expansion will provide safety benefits while improving Highway 14’s capacity, reducing travel time, and improving the interregional commerce connection.
PE Services is involved with MnDOT to provide verification services in grading, compaction, soils, and bridge construction. In addition, PE Services staff were responsible for the potential for soil erosion and impacts on water quality are greatest at the time a project requires the removal of vegetation and topsoil for initial clearing, grubbing, and grading activities. Areas adjacent to water resources have the highest potential for adverse impacts. Erosion control measures will be installed to minimize potential soil erosion impacts from construction activities. Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2022. Traffic on the new Hwy 14 route is expected in 2021.