St. Louis County to Invest $119M in Road, Bridge Reconstruction

More than 420 Miles of Road, 47 Bridges to be Redone

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St. Louis County roads are about to get a makeover that has a bigger price tag than what it cost to repair Duluth after the 2012 flash flood.

Over the next two construction seasons, the county will invest $119 million on more than 200 separate projects.

If you live in the Twin Ports, county roads may be the route less traveled, but for rural St. Louis County cracked pavement and poor infrastructure is the talk of the town.

It’s no secret roads in St. Louis County need some major help.

Back in December the county board voted to impose a half cent transportation sales tax that’s estimated to generate more than $10 million a year.

The tax goes into effect Wednesday, and county leaders have already spent it.

“The one missing piece of the puzzle has long been the money,” explained St. Louis County transportation commissioner, Steve Raukar.

Thanks to a combination of state aid, federal highway funds, and the newly passed transportation sales tax, funding is no longer an issue.

“It will allow us to invest in our infrastructure like never before,” smiled St. Louis County Board chairman, Pete Stauber. “We’re excited to provide the traveling public, the visitors, and the local businesses with safer streets.”

In 2015, $51 million will be spent on projects, and in 2016, $68 million will be invested.

The money will be used to improve more than 420 miles of road and replace 47 bridges.

“If that’s not enough to convince people I’d be happy to give anyone interested a three hour tour,” laughed Raukar.

One of the projects happening in Duluth is the reconstruction of Arlington Avenue.

Crews plan to rip up three miles of road from Trinity Road to Arrowhead Road.

The project is considered minuscule compared to the other ones that are happening county-wide.

Notable projects happening this summer are in Hibbing at County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 16 which connects the Range to the North Shore.

A six mile stretch of Martin Road from Midway Road to Rice Lake Road will get resurfaced.

Mud Lake Road in Virginia between Trunk Highway 169 and 12th Avenue West will be resurfaced along with new curbs and gutters.

“With construction costs and fuel costs relatively low right now as well as low interest rates for the bonds, it makes all the sense in the world to do this now,” said St. Louis County Public Works Director, Jim Foldesi.

Experts say the longer you wait the worse the road gets, and a project this big is expected to benefit drivers county-wide.

County leaders expect upcoming construction to create thousands of jobs.

For more information and maps of every specific project, click here.

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