Area residents met with the Highway 14 New Ulm to Nicollet Task Force on Thursday afternoon to dive into early draft concepts aimed at redesigning the ten to twelve mile stretch of roadway to four lanes.

MnDOT Project Manager Zak Tess says the project has been accelerated due to recommendations that will be forwarded the Minnesota Legislature’s Corridors of Commerce.

“This segment of Highway 14 is currently unfunded. However, the Corridors of Commerce program is one of those opportunities. Now, it’s a relatively objective program in terms of scoring. So, we’ll find out when everybody else finds out, sort of the shakeout in terms of the scope.” 

Right now there is a soft split of funding between metro and greater Minnesota, each will receive about 200-million dollars.

If things were to move forward with the Highway 14 project, construction wouldn’t likely start until 2021.

“There were a number of different projects that were submitted on just this section of Highway 14 that could receive funding that are different then the whole corridor. There’s just Courtland to Nicollet that we’ve got to evaluate. There’s a New Ulm to the west side of Courtland project. So, depending on which project or the entire segment or just parts of it get funding, that could influence when it gets constructed.”

A wide array of alternatives along the corridor are currently in play with different types of intersections near New Ulm and Courtland.

“What’s being recommended by the task force on the south side of New Ulm at County Road 37, they’ll see a grade separated interchange. Similar to what we recently constructed in Nicollet. A couple of different options in Courtland as well. But at least what the task force is recommending right is a grade separated interchange at County Road 24, north of town. They’re proposing one major infrastructure investment at that location.”

Officials will find out in April if the project receives funding from the Corridors of Commerce.