Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
I want to provide a brief update to you on the legislative progress concerning safety improvements to U.S. Highway 12 running through the middle of our legislative district.
As most of you are likely aware, the segment of Highway 12 from Wayzata to Cokato has been declared the most dangerous stretch of state highway in our state. Sadly, with noticeable increases and frequency of severe crashes and fatalities, a Highway 12 Safety Coalition was established in order to determine potential causes and possible short term remedies.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) prepared a safety audit report by compiling crash data for 38 miles of the highway included in the study, The data showed an extraordinary quantity of severe and fatal crashes on the most eastern portion of the study area between Wayzata and Delano. Tragically, there have been 21 fatalities during the preceding 62 months and hundreds of severe injury crashes during the study period.
Reviewing the safety audit report, it became apparent that three (3) identifiable areas of the roadway in Hennepin County were associated with a large number of the severe injury crashes and fatalities. I have already drafted and introduced legislation this session that seeks to fund improvements to the dangers identified in the report. You can view a story by journalist Katherine Johnson which ran yesterday on KSTP television by going to the link here.
Our own District 33 Sen. David Osmek has introduced companion bills in the Senate and Rep. Joe McDonald from Delano, and myself are collaborating on pushing this legislation through the House of Representatives. The short session this year will mean that committee deadlines to hear bills will be fast approaching and it is our collective effort to engage our colleagues here in St. Paul about the urgent need to fund these safety improvements.
I had the opportunity last Wednesday to further discuss again the importance of funding this project with Transportation Commissioner Zelle and many of our area stakeholders, community leaders and law enforcement officials came to St. Paul yesterday to meet with the minority lead on the senate transportation committee, Sen. David Senjem.
I will continue to provide updates on this important legislative issue as the legislation and the session progresses in the coming weeks.
Thank you for all of your support,
Rep. Jerry Hertaus