The City of St. Michael, the Interstate 94 Coalition and a handful of local dignitaries will join together Monday, June 30 in the parking lot of the former St. Michael Cinemagic theater location for a groundbreaking marking the expansion of Interstate 94 to six lanes at 10:30 a.m. Speakers will feature MnDOT Commissioner Charles Zelle and Rep. Michele Bachmann, making one of her final appearances in St. Michael before she retires from Congress in November.
“It’s a pretty exciting thing,” said City Administrator Steve Bot, also St. Michael’s representative on the I-94 Coalition, the lobbying group largely responsible for getting the project on the state’s radar. “This wasn’t even on the map over the next five years, and now you have [Highway] 610 being finished to Rogers, 494 expansion and the 94 expansion here all happening soon. So the northwest corridor is definitely in a good position.”
Minnesota State Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, who addressed the council prior to Bot’s announcement of the groundbreaking at Tuesday’s council meeting, said the collaborative effort to expand 94 westward isn’t done.
“We’ll be doing a lot of work on the Senate Transportation Committee to keep this momentum going,” she said. “We need to get to at least [Wright County] 19 in Albertville. That should be the next priority. Of course we’d love to see it all the way out to Monticello.”
To its credit, MnDOT District 3 is already doing expansion work between County Highway 18 and Minnesota Highway 25 this year, with auxiliary lanes and extended ramps as part of that project, already underway this year. Bridges there are already designed to handle six lanes of interstate traffic.
“It’s something that makes it easier for haulers and weekend drivers, alike,” Bot said. “There’s still work to do, but the groundbreaking is really going to be a good occasion. It’s the result of a lot of hard work.”