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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL)

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Dangerous Highway 36 intersection awarded money; area legislators applaud funding

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A traffic light-operated intersection at Hadley Avenue and Highway 36 in Oakdale that has long been a community concern has been selected to receive $4 million in Transportation Economic Development (TED) program dollars. The TED program pays for projects with a specific economic benefit to a community. Area legislators Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) and Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL-North St. Paul) have long advocated for funding to fix this particular interchange.


“This is great news for our community,” said Rep. Lillie. “Upgrading the Hadley intersection will improve safety, reduce congestion, help businesses move products quicker, and provide an outstanding traffic bypass for pedestrians and bicycles on the Gateway Trail. This is a grand-slam for our community.”


“As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I’m all too aware of the great need for transportation infrastructure investment across the state. I’d like to thank both the Department of Transportation and DEED for these TED dollars which are going to help fix a very dangerous intersection that has been a problem for the city of Oakdale for many years. This money will help drive further economic development in this region, and for that I’m very grateful,” said Sen. Chuck Wiger.


The TED money will help convert the Hadley Avenue intersection, which now has traffic signals, into a freeway-style interchange. The project also includes a tunnel under Highway 36 for the Gateway Trail used by cyclists and pedestrians. The total project cost is estimated at around $19 million, bids will start being accepted for the project in 2018. The total TED grant money awarded this year totaled $32 million for 11 state highway projects. The TED money is leveraging more than $119 million from public and private partners that derive a direct benefit from the transportation improvement project.


“Projects like these highlight how important it is that we pass a comprehensive transportation plan for Minnesota with long-term and constitutionally dedicated funding,” said Rep. Lillie. “I really appreciate Senator Wiger and the Senate Majority’s work on their transportation proposals in 2015. Their transportation proposal puts everyday Minnesotans first, just like the upgrades to the Hadley intersection. I hope we can move Minnesotans forward with a transportation package that can support projects like this one all across Minnesota.”


There is a similar lighted intersection at Century Avenue just a little further west on Highway 36, and both Wiger and Lillie hope to secure future funding to fix this intersection as well.