KEYC-TV reports in Symbolic Ribbon Cutting Highway 14:
Congressman Tim Walz, and other dignitaries on hand to cut the ribbon on Highway 14. The new stretch of four lane highway will now give drivers a direct route between Owatonna and Mankato... something that officials say was a long time in the making.
Rep. Tim Walz, (D), says, "This is a highway that our children and grandchildren can say thank goodness they built this. We always talk about the interstate highway system, this is our moment to do something with infostructure. So, it means a lot. It shows that southern Minnesota is united, it shows that we have an eye towards the future so I'm proud of this group."
The project's price tag is $152 million dollars. MnDOT officials say while they don't have an exact date for its opening, the four lanes of traffic should be open within the next two to three weeks.
A photo in a Facebook album kept by a state senate candidate for Mike Parry's old seat reveals state representative Kory Kath, Parry and Congressman Walz cavorting with a giant pair of scissors on one of the most dangerous roads in the state of Minnesota.
Update: On a more serious note, the Owatonna People's Press reports in Highway 14 ribbon cutting marks celebration for Steele County and beyond:
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz was the first of the featured speakers. He expressed the importance opening this portion of highway has to southern Minnesota.
“This is what’s possible when you work together. This is what’s possible when you have a common vision. This is what’s possible when we decide to make things happen. This is the lifeblood of Minnesota,” Walz said. “This is one of the healthiest economies in the country. This is a place that is innovating and growing and we need to give our businesses that opportunity to have this piece of infrastructure.”
The ceremony marks the completion of more than 40 miles of four-lane highway between Owatonna and north Mankato, but Walz, like several other speakers, said the work on Highway 14 isn’t finished yet.
“It’s a great day, but it is not done. We are not done,” he added, referring to the two-lane stretch of Highway 14 from Owatonna to Dodge Center, which state, county and local officials are trying to get on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s 20-year plan. . .
After the ceremony, Walz and other officials gathered to talk about the work that needs to be done. The OPP reports in MnDOT officials and Owatonna-area professionals voice Highway 14 concerns:
About 25 Minnesota, Steele County and Owatonna officials, as well as local business owners, met after the Highway 14 ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning to voice their concerns to Minnesota Department of Transportation officials about the stretch of highway from Owatonna to Dodge Center.
The main concerns of those in attendance included funding and safety. . . .
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz said the funding issue is more of a national problem than a state problem.
“Without commitment from everyone in the room and everyone out there involved, this wouldn’t have gotten done because the need is great,” Walz said. “MnDOT does an incredible job, but it can only do with what resources they have been given.”He said that if the country is too broke to build roads, then it is in big trouble in the future . . .
Read both articles at the OPP. Here's the KEYC-TV video of the ribbon cutting: