$50 million flood mitigation program will help state highways
ST.PAUL - A $50 million flood mitigation program will help fund highway improvement projects over the next five years that will make state roadways more resistant to future flood damage.
According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the state allocation, coupled with the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief to repair damage caused by September flooding, will improve state infrastructure now and in the future.
"As stewards of Minnesota's infrastructure, we continuously look for enhancements that encourage sustainability while enhancing our quality of life," said MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel.
The program is not part of legislation approved this week by the state Legislative special session.
MnDOT will fund the mitigation program with $50 million of existing bond authority, $10 million each year through 2016 and will develop criteria to prioritize projects across the state.
The agency has sufficient bonding authority and is experiencing cost savings on construction projects from recent bids, said Sorel.
Examples of mitigation projects that will be funded include: repairs to culverts in poor condition; improvements to drainage structures, slopes, berms and ditches prone to flooding; and repairs or flood mitigation projects on highways that regularly flood, such as Highway 169, Highway 59/212, Highway 41, Highway 75, Highway 101, Highway 41 and Highway 1.
The efforts will also address basin flooding issues in the Red River Valley area of Minnesota.
Sorel said the program will mean lower costs to repair damage from future floods, creating a more sustainable transportation in the future. It will also provide more value and safer communities to Minnesotans with reduced repair costs and less traffic disruption, he said.