Construction crews recently began clearing trees and brush along the route of the Highway 14 expansion between Owatonna and Dodge Center. Full-fledged construction will begin this spring with traffic expected to begin on the new roadway in 2021 although the full project won't be complete until 2022.

The 108-million-dollar project is being headed up by Shafer Contracting of Shafer, MN and will expand a 12.5-mile stretch of highway from two to four lanes. A news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation states, "The project is intended to improve the capacity, safety, travel times and access between Rochester and Owatonna, as well as the I-35 corridor."

The brush and tree clearing should wrap up by late winter.

The passage of Highway 14 expansion was among the 2019 highlights brought up during the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism's recent annual dinner.

Official ground-breaking was held on a chilly, windy November day near Claremont. Governor Walz and senator Jasinski were among the dignitaries on hand to celebrate the project, whose funding comes through the Corridors of Commerce program.

The new Highway 14 route will be south of Claremont and south of the railroad tracks and will connect with the existing four-lane highway west of Dodge Center.

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