County seeks state funds for Highway 52 interchangeGoodhue County officials are seeking a new round of state grant money to pay for a project designed to make the intersection of Highway 52 and County Road 24 safer.
Goodhue County officials are seeking a new round of state grant money to pay for a project designed to make the intersection of Highway 52 and County Road 24 safer.
But expectations are tempered by past experience with competitive federal and state grants. Two bids for funding in the past two years have been denied.
"I have absolutely no idea what kind of chances we have to get this," Goodhue County Public Works Director Gary Isakson said.
Up to $20 million could be available for the project through the recently announced Safety and Mobility Interchange Program, a competitive grant awarded to Minnesota Department of Transportation Districts for projects designed to make highway intersections safer and more efficient.
Officials say the grant would be a good match for the Cannon Falls project, which would build a critical interchange at what is one of the most dangerous intersections in Minnesota, according to state statistics.
Workers would take down the traffic signals at the intersection and build an interchange and supporting roads as part of the first phase of the project, estimated at $28 million.
"This is something we've been working on a long, long time, so we don't want to pass up any opportunities" said Goodhue County Commissioner Richard Samuelson, who represents the Cannon Falls area.
Commissioners renewed the call Thursday to pay for the project through a combination of state, county and city funding.
Under that plan, the county would put in 10 percent of the project costs, the city of Cannon Falls would pay 5 percent, and the rest would come from a combination of grants and MnDOT District 6 funding.
Commissioners discussing the plan Thursday agreed that local government contributions could increase the likelihood of state funding.
"I think we'll have better luck getting this if we're both putting in money," said commissioner Ron Allen.
Similar competitive grants have gone to projects elsewhere, howevr.
Officials were frustrated to learn in February that $20 million in federal stimulus money would not be awarded to the project. In 2009, state funding for the project was also denied in favor of a project near the Elk Run development slated for Pine Island.
@Sub heads:Funds sought for Zumbrota project
@Normal1: Commissioners also voted Thursday to seek state funding for a project further down Highway 52 in Zumbrota.
Officials want to eliminate the dangerous intersection at 445th Street, creating a new access to the city's industrial park by extending County Road 68.
The county and the city of Zumbrota will jointly apply to MnDOT's new Transportation Economic Development. Up to $10 million could be available.
The recipients for both grants will be announced by Dec. 23, according to MnDOT.
"So somebody's going to be getting a nice Christmas present," Isakson said.