$60 million in Highway 14 construction funds go to Byron

(ABC 6 News) – Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz announced a $380 million grant from the state to MnDOT and Minnesota cities.

Sixty million dollars will be going to the City of Byron to restart a major Highway 14 construction intersection.

While that intersection has been closed for a year, MnDOT is unsure of how that intersection will be reconstructed right now. Officials are in the early phases of planning what comes next at Hwy 14 and County Road 44, but they are taking feedback based off a new J-turn that just completed construction a few miles up the road.

Hwy 14 construction is expected to continue on for another year between Rochester and Byron because of this.

“This is a special and unique kind of funding, it’s designated really for some of these very large projects like an interchange that MnDOT or a district may not be able to put into their budget because other things need to be addressed,” said Cindy Morgan, Public Engagement Coordinator for MnDOT.

MnDOT’s plan when the intersection at County Road 44 and Highway 14 originally closed down, was for it to be built into a J-turn like intersection, similar to the one just finished at County Rd. 3 and Hwy. 14.

That new J-turn has been open only for a few weeks and it’s taken some getting used to for one business nearby.

Destination Building Center has constant traffic from semis picking up and dropping off supplies as well as their own employees.

“The new intersection, it slows everything down,” said Chris Ostby. “[It] makes you obviously look both ways and you’re still having to cross two lanes of traffic. So it’s not the greatest situation in the world, I wouldn’t think, it’s kind of a pain in the butt actually.”

While MnDOT still plans for this new interchange on Hwy 14 to be different, they’re hoping to hear from the people who are dealing with the completed intersection on a daily basis to make this new one better.

“We have that big step forward, the next steps will be finalizing that design, selecting a contractor and that’s when you can get those shovels in the ground,” Morgan said.

MnDOT says the new J-turn at County Road 3 and 14 has made turns safer for drivers, but Ostby believes the real test of that will be in the winter.

“As far as this intersection, we’ll see how the plowing goes of the intersections and keeping everything clear. It’s only going to get worse with Minnesota weather but, so hopefully yes,” said Ostby.

MnDOT will be finalizing their design plans and begin looking for contracting partners now that the funding is secured. They do not currently anticipate construction to begin at the interchange until 2024.