The Minnesota Department of Transportation today announced that it has identified $50 million in construction project savings that will allow it to fund a major project in the Twin Cities metro area and much needed pavement reconstruction on Interstate 90 in southwestern Minnesota.
"Many people talk about reform. We do it," said Governor Mark Dayton. "The cost savings MnDOT has achieved by working smarter and faster are the kind of improvements Minnesota taxpayers deserve. I congratulate Commissioner Zelle, MnDOT's employees, and the private contractors, who made this accomplishment possible."
Of the $50 million in savings, $30 million will come from work on the St. Croix Crossing project that is funded by MnDOT. The project team managed issues such as advancing parts of the project schedule and enhancing the design of highway bridges on the Minnesota side to reduce project costs. The Red Wing bridge project realized $20 million in cost reductions by adjusting the design to meet future capacity needs. That project, a replacement of the Eisenhower Bridge over the Mississippi River in Red Wing, is scheduled to begin construction in 2018.
"Our engineers and finance managers worked hard to identify potential savings in the St. Croix Crossing project and the Red Wing bridge project," said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. "By ensuring that the designs for those projects were as efficient as they could be, we were able to reduce total project costs by $50 million. And we are finding these efficiencies without compromising safety. This shows how MnDOT is working to make the most of public resources."
The projects that will receive the additional funding are:
I-494, from I-394 to I-94. MnDOT will reconstruct pavement, replace 6 bridges, repair 11 bridges and add a general purpose lane from Highway 55 to I-94 on both sides of the road. MnDOT will apply $25 million of the identified savings as well as program funding from the MnDOT Metro District to pay for the $86 million project. This project will start in 2015 and be completed by fall 2016 pending inclusion in the Met Council Transportation Policy Plan.
In Greater Minnesota, MnDOT will rebuild 50 miles of pavement on I-90 for $50 million. MnDOT will apply $25 million of the identified savings to augment $25 million of previous state program funding. The improved roadway will have a life span of 35 years or more. The project will start this year and be complete by 2015. It is one of a series of MnDOT projects in that corridor that will improve 100 miles of I-90 pavement by 2018. I-90 is a major freight corridor that runs across southern Minnesota.
"The future of transportation funding will bring great challenges in the next 20 years," Zelle said. "Our latest state highway investment plan indicates that we will be $12 billion short of where we want to be. To ensure that we are getting the most for the public's money, MnDOT will continue to make sure that the work we do provides the best return on investment."