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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL)

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TRANSPORTATION BILL SPEEDS REPAIR OF "DEVIL'S TRIANGLE"

Thursday, April 10, 2008
Construction to begin this July Anyone who has driven through Osseo and Brooklyn Park knows firsthand how bad traffic can be where Hwy 169 intersects CR 81 and 85th Avenue. Known as "Devil's Triangle," this intersection – where three major roads and a rail line collide at a series of stoplights outside Fleet Farm – is considered one of the deadliest and most congested interchanges in the state. But, a comprehensive transportation package passed by the Legislature this year will change all that, speeding up construction on Devil's Triangle to begin this summer. "Devil's triangle has been choking traffic flow in our north metro suburban communities for years," said Rep. Denise Dittrich (DFL – Champlin/Coon Rapids). "But by passing this year's transportation package, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will finally be able to begin construction on this important project, providing a safer, more efficient interchange for area commuters." For the past three years, area lawmakers have been working closely with local officials, the Governor, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to fix the problem at Devil's Triangle. The project was scheduled to begin last year, but was pushed back because of lack of funding. Last month, the Legislature passed a $6.6 billion transportation package (HF 2800) that provides sorely needed funding to maintain safety on roads and bridges across Minnesota. The bill has moved the Devil's Triangle project forward. "Every year numerous traffic fatalities and serious crashes happened at this dangerous intersection and until now, MnDOT has pushed the construction date back," said Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL – Brooklyn Park/Coon Rapids). "This project is exactly the reason we needed to step up to the plate provide MnDOT with resources they needed. This project will save lives." Construction is now scheduled to begin at the intersection this July. Contractors will place bids on the project in June, with roadwork beginning a month later. The project will cost $45 million, and take three years to complete. "We needed to pass a transportation bill because it was unacceptable to delay this project again," said Rep. Michael Nelson (DFL – Brooklyn Park) "Without funding from our transportation bill, I don’t think you would see orange cones and construction workers out at Devil's Triangle this summer." Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL – Brooklyn Center) added, "20 years ago there were only 26,000 cars making their way through these intersections. That number has more than doubled and we finally have the money to deal with the problem." More information about MnDOT's summer road construction plan can be found online at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/construction/pdfs/2008_metro-list.pdf. Additional information about this year's comprehensive transportation package can also be found online at www.house.mn. -30- You can reach Rep. Denise Dittrich by phone at (651) 296-5513 or by email at rep.denise.dittrich@house.mn You can reach Rep. Melissa Hortman by phone at (651) 296-4280 or by email at rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn You can reach Rep. Michael Nelson by phone at (651) 296-3751 or by email at rep.michael.nelson@house.mn You can reach Rep. Debra Hillstrom by phone at (651) 296-2585 or by email at rep.debra.hilstrom@house.mn