The Free Press, Mankato, MN

September 14, 2010

Special Report: Highway 14: Delayed, deferred and deadly

The Free Press

Sunday: A Decade of Death

Highway 14 from North Mankato to New Ulm has a fatality rate 94 percent higher than the statewide average.

There have been 25 fatalities on Highway 14 between New Ulm and Waseca during the last 10 years.

But the road is still not on MnDOT's 20 year list for funding.

This series explores why.

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Monday: Years of Pain: Suffering a crash

Mark Raddatz lost his wife and spent nearly two years in physical and mental rehabilitation after a devastating crash on Highway 14 in 2008.

He is one of the dozens or people affected by one of 25 fatal accidents on the Highway in the last decade.

MnDOT’s dilemma: unsafe and unfunded

Highway 14 between North Mankato and New Ulm has a fatality rate 94 percent higher than the state average. Traffic is increasing in some cases by double digit percentages over 10 years and the number of heavy trucks on the road is above average.

It’s a perfect storm of factors that causes a lot of severe and deadly accidents.

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Tuesday: Danger grows while funding comes up short

Mankato’s regional MnDOT district gets about $45 million a year for all roads in the district. Making Highway 14 a four-lane from North Mankato to New Ulm would cost almost 8 times that amount.

Highway 14 is not on the list for improvement for 20 years, while Highway 60, partly because of political maneuvering, is getting $90 million in the next decade.

There’s hope for federal dollars, but those may be uncertain as well

Dangerous highways are prevalent

Almost any part of the state can claim it has a dangerous state highway that needs upgrades. And they would be right.

But MnDOT’s funding priorities have been dictated by the need for improved bridges, reducing congestion in the Twin Cities and fixing crumbling road surfaces everywhere.

Read the stories