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Video: Minnesota roads get D+ on infrastructure report card

Apr 29, 2022 05:56AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Traffic navigates through the construction from the Hennepin/Lyndale Avenue Reconstruction Project. The $1 trillion federal infrastructure bill will pay for roads, bridge and transit improvements in Minnesota as well as provide cash for broadband internet and electric car charging stations.  Photo: William Lager | MPR News 2016


By Baihly Warfield from WDIO-TV • April 27, 2022

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Minnesota's roads a D+. Overall, including everything from parks to airports, the state's infrastructure got a C. But out of 10 categories, roads were its lowest score.

"We had eight different criteria that we used: capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation," ASCE Minnesota chapter President Andy Nordseth said. 

He said they know communities need more funding. According to Nordseth, last summer, MnDOT awarded more than $80 million to 83 projects. But there were 425 applicants. 

Condition was another important element to the D+ grade.

"Our team also conducted a survey of Minnesota city and county engineers throughout the state last summer, summer of 2021, and 20 of the 29 respondents indicated that their roadway systems were either mediocre or poor," Nordseth said. 

If they'd asked UMD student Raelin Karstens, her first reaction was a B-.

"It's not bad. You know, I think there's a lot of good roads around here, but I think there's a lot of room for improvement. So maybe even a C+," Karstens said. 

Britt and Dawn Olson were visiting Duluth Wednesday from southern Minnesota.  "D," was Britt's grade. "A lot of roads that I travel on are bad." "I think the best I can say is C, you know, honestly," Dawn added. They said they feel the Twin Cities metro gets more funding and attention than rural roads. 

"We have some really pretty potholes in Minnesota," Britt said. 

"Pretty deep, yes," Dawn responded. 

Karstens agreed there are areas that need work. 

"The highways are usually pretty good," she said. "I mean, they're always under construction, which is a little bit of a pain, but I understand it. But the residential streets are always a really big challenge."

Nordseth said the ASCE's D+ grade doesn't necessarily mean Minnesota's roads have deteriorated lately. 

"I don't know if we ever were at a different grade," he said. "It's hard to say. It wasn't evaluated until just recently."

The grade offers a benchmark to know if we are heading the right direction in the future. There is plenty of room for improvement, Nordseth said. And his group thinks the fix is tied to the funding. 

"To raise the grade, we need robust and sustainable funding to meet the infrastructure needs across the state," he said. "And that's across the board in all categories." 

He worries that because revenue sources like a gas tax aren't tied to inflation, the money the state takes in doesn't have as much buying power. So he says people who are concerned about Minnesota's low grade should contact their legislators because they control the budget. 


To see the original report and read related stories, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website. https://www.wdio.com/news/minnesota-roads-d-infrastructure-report-card/6457141/

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