ST. PAUL – On April 19, State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) joined Governor Walz and other elected officials and interested stakeholders in breaking ground on what will be the new four-lane U.S. Highway 14 that will be constructed between Nicollet and New Ulm
“I am so pleased that this project is moving forward, and that I was able to play a role in helping it move forward,” Torkelson said. “A four-lane Highway 14 is decades overdue, and when finished local drivers will finally have a safe and improved road as they drive to and from the Mankato area.”
Torkelson said funding for the Highway 14 expansion is taking place through state and federal sources. When the 12.5-mile stretch is completed, a four-lane Highway 14 will exist between New Ulm and Rochester.
During his time in the Minnesota House, Rep. Torkelson has helped move the Nicollet/New Ulm stretch of Highway 14 to the top of MnDOT’s priority list. For years, MnDOT’s highest Highway 14 priority had been the stretch from Owatonna to Dodge Center. Until that section of Highway 14 was funded, the New Ulm to Nicollet portion would always remain in 2nd place.
During his tenure as chairman of the Minnesota House Transportation Finance Committee, Torkelson not only helped make the largest investment in state history into road and bridge infrastructure without raising taxes (totaling billions of dollars), but also found a way to finally secure funding to complete the Owatonna to Dodge Center portion of Highway 14. In doing so, the New Ulm to Nicollet stretch moved into the top spot on MnDOT’s Highway 14 priority list, and Torkelson said it eventually received the funding it desperately needed.
Torkelson thanked the U.S. Highway 14 Partnership its their tireless efforts in promoting a four-lane roadway from New Ulm to Rochester, and particularly former New Ulm Mayor Bob Beussman who served as president of the group and worked on this issue for many years.
“My Number 1 priority as state representative has always been improving Highway 14, and I am pleased work on creating this four-lane roadway is finally going to begin,” Torkelson said. “While construction will make Highway 14 much safer, ultimately that safety depends on driver behavior. In order to avoid continued fatalities and injuries, its critical that drivers pay attention to the road and continue to follow the law.”