Safety Improvements Needed, Funding not There for Deadly MN Road

January 08, 2018 05:38 PM

(ABC 6 News)--It's well known that Highway 14 is a very dangerous stretch of road. In fact, some transportation officials have called it the deadliest stretch of highway in the state. 

The city of Owatonna is looking for support to help fix the problem by completing a four-lane expansion between Owatonna and Dodge Center.


"It's been nicknamed the highway of horror; it is the most dangerous highway in Minnesota," said Beth Hodgman of West Concord.

It’s a nickname that many are trying to change.

"It's those seven grandchildren that are never going to know him," cried Hodgman.

On November 6th, 2012 Scott Hodgman, Beth’s husband, was killed coming home from work. He was one of three people killed in a head-on collision on Highway 14.

Since 2010 ABC 6 News has covered at least ten deadly accidents on Highway 14.

"There are no rumble strips on that curve to let you know that you are across the center line," said Hodgman.

Many want safety improvements, something MnDOT is aware of.

"Right now there aren't, I don't believe any plans for the program to do significant work on Highway 14," said Kevin Gutknecht, the communications director with MnDOT.

But the biggest barrier is funding, according to Gutknecht. He doesn't expect any additional funding this legislative session.

"A good chunk of our roadways are 50 years old or older. A good number of bridges are more than 35-40 years old, so we need to address those, too. Those tend to take priority over expansion projects," Gutknecht said.

Although there may not be funding, he said MnDOT understands the needs for Highway 14.

"It's so aggravating when I see emails come through that it’s put on hold and that they are trying to figure out who gets the funding this year,” said Hodgman.

As for the future of Highway 14 in the coming year, Gutknecht said he doesn’t believe there’s anything that’s in a planning document right now, but that could change.

A hope Hodgman holds on to.

"Get the road finished. Quit passing the buck," said Hodgman.                                                                      

According to the City of Owatonna’s website, Highway 14 has a fatality rate nearly double the statewide average.

The US Highway 14 partnership is holding a meeting Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 11:30 at the Owatonna Arts Center. They will be talking about ways to advocate for Highway 14 funding for this year.


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