MNDOT announces indefinite closure of intersections across Highway 14, frustrating residents

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 10:35 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Effective at the end of July, the medians for 7th St NW and County Road 44 when they cross Highway 14 are closing down.

“That’s where most of the serious and fatal injury crashes have occurred,” said Minnesota Department of Transportation Spokesperson Mike Dougherty.

Meanwhile, residents in the area frustrated that MNDOT is not doing more.

“I had a a daughter that was in a crash there,” said Ruth Benning, who lives near the intersection. “The closing of the intersection would limit my ability to access my entrance into my home.”

The project for fixing this intersection was estimated to cost north of $40 million, half of which would come from state bonding money. The bonding bill did not pass this year’s legislative session, which means the only plans now on this intersection are closing the medians.

“It’s not a good solution, they got to do something better,” said Debra Seifert, a resident who lives near the intersection. “I just couldn’t understand why we’re not making any progress.”

Seifert got into an accident at this intersection, and has grown tired of the inaction from the state.

“It could’ve been that I wasn’t here to talk about it today in trying to get this intersection changed,” Seifert said.

Jim Bier, the county commissioner of this district, spoke at the meeting as well, and said he is not happy with these measures either.

“This is failing, not because of pavement but because there’s too many cars here,” Bier said, who is the 5th District County Commissioner in Olmsted County.

Bier is worried these median closures will lead more drivers to Valleyhigh road and County Road 34, which during rush hour are already backed up. He also says Olmsted County was willing to put forth its share of the funding for this project, but the state could not hold up its end.

“No bonding bill, and I don’t think there’s going to be a special session so we’re back at square one,” Bier said.

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