Highway 14 opens from Dodge Center to Owatonna after two years

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(ABC 6 News) – The expansion of Highway 14 is now complete.

Gov. Tim Walz played a big part in this project and joined MnDOT and other local leaders today for the ribbon cutting.

"The advocacy of the Highway 14 partnership is a model for how to get things done. Citizen voices that are heard in an effective way to move things forward that benefits everyone," Walz said.

Walz celebrates the expansion of Highway 14 between Dodge Center and Owatonna Tuesday with a personal tie to Highway 14. Walz reflected back on the death of his neighbor on this highway in Mankato.

Highway 14 now has a 12.5 mile stretch of new roadway and two new overpasses. The highway is now expanded into four lanes.

"We are proud that the new Highway 14 route will continue to be one of Claremont’s key connections and that we will have a safer exit to home," Mayor of Claremont, Tasha Dahl, said.

Last fall Walz announced Minnesota received a $22 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program for the Highway 14 expansion project.

With the passing of the Infrastructure Bill just last week, adding to what’s to come for the future of Minnesota roadways and more.

"That infrastructure bill, the jobs that it is going to create, the infrastructure for the future that it’s going to create, and the connectedness it’s going to create. I don’t think we can underestimate the impact of that. It will be generational, transformational change coming and the good thing I’m happy about is it’s going to keep MnDOT busy for a lot of years to come," Walz said.

Many lives have been lost on Highway 14 and it’s been decades in the making to decrease those numbers.

"You know that too many people have lost their lives on this roadway. Too many people have suffered from life-changing crashes on this roadway. And our fight for safety is not done because the roadway is done," Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner, said.

Highway 14 Partnership, an advocacy group supporting the four-lane expansion of Highway 14, is not done yet. They look forward to the completion of the stretch from Nicollet to New Ulm next.

"The quality of life of living down in southern Minnesota can’t be compared to any place else in the world and this road makes it a little easier to do that," Walz said.