April 6, 2018 4:30 PM, EDT

Minnesota Announces $1 Billion in Road and Bridge Projects in 2018

Interstate 35 Minnesota Tony Webster/Flickr

Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle announced April 4 that $1.1 billion will be dedicated to state road and bridge projects that will be worked on throughout the year.

The funding covers 253 projects, many of which are underway. According to a press release issued by Minnesota DOT, the projects are designed to maintain roads and bridges, improve safety and support thousands of construction jobs.

“These projects are critical investments in Minnesota’s aging transportation system,” Zelle said. “We will repave roads, repair and paint bridges, replace culverts and rehabilitate structures.”

One of the major projects supported by this round of funding is a $239 million renovation of Interstate 35 West, which runs through Minneapolis. Other projects include multiple bridge replacements and repaving efforts.

The funding directed toward road and bridge projects mirrors last season’s sum, which was over $1 billion. However, Zelle said that long-term transportation projects are still in need of funding. In 2017, Gov. Mark Dayton authorized an additional $640 million in trunk highway bonding over the next four years, as well as $164 million in cash. Minnesota’s trunk highway system is a roughly 12,000-mile statewide network of interstates and state highways that is primarily funded through transportation-related taxes and federal aid.

According to the press release, this additional funding will reduce the state’s annual $600 million transportation funding gap by $200 million for each of the next four years. However, the $600 million annual funding gap is projected to resume beginning in 2022.