A new era in transportation for the northwest metro was heralded when a host of dignitaries broke ground for an Interstate 94 expansion project Friday, Oct. 12, in Albertville.

The project will add a third lane in each direction from St. Michael to Albertville.

Helping usher in the occasion were U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Congressman Tom Emmer, Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle, Transportation Finance Committee Chair Rep. Paul Torkelson and area Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer and Rep. Eric Lucero, all of whom spoke at the event. They joined a host of St. Michael, Albertville and Rogers city council members and other dignitaries in celebrating the project.

“I love shopping in Albertville!” Sen. Klobuchar said, noting that it will now be easier thanks to the added lanes. “There is no one more thrilled than the people who live and work here. But our work is no where done.”

Klobuchar noted that I-94 from St. Michael to St. Cloud accounts for 1.6 percent of Minnesota’s Interregional Corrdor System “but 40 percent of its congestion.”

Congressman Emmer added that transportation “is one of the most important issues in this community. It’s incredibly important to get three lanes all the way to St. Cloud.”

Not only did Commissioner Zelle agree with Emmer, but he made a big announcement: “We are paving from Monticello to Clearwater and during construction, we’ll make an additional lane a permanent lane. It’s official!”

According to the I-94 West Corridor Coalition:

• The four to six-lane expansion project began with $1.4 million allocated to design and engineering in 2014. This shovel ready project is estimated to cost $50 million.

• The project addresses multiple policy objectives including addressing existing pavement and bridge replacement needs.

• Current four lane segment is over capacity with 70,000 annual average daily traffic and 8,000 heavy commercial annual average daily traffic.

• The project will reduce travel delay by more than 330 hours per day, eliminate slightly less than $1 million in crash costs annually, and make trips on the corridor much more reliable.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced that this project will be included in the Corridors of Commerce funding. The project will receive the full $56 million necessary to complete the lane capacity expansion.

The coalition’s goal is to “Unleash the Mobility” with lane capacity expansion by providing an additional travel lane to I-94 in each direction from Maple Grove to St. Cloud, as well as the addition of auxiliary lanes to the Brockton Lane Interchange at the Rogers/Dayton border

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