NEW ULM — Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens told the county council on Tuesday that the 2023 State Highway 4 project from Sleepy Eye to St. James is ineligible for trade corridor funding.
County officials are seeking additional funds to upgrade the $17.5 million project, which limits the weight of vehicles using the segment to 7 tons. The county wants a grade upgrade to a 10-ton year-round road, which is expected to increase the cost of the project to $45 million.
The council’s consensus this week was to ask the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) District 7 to delay the project by one year, until 2024, in hopes of securing more funding.
Work on the State Highway 4 project includes road resurfacing, replacement of a span bridge over the Big Cottonwood River, replacement of a culvert bridge south of Sleepy Eye, replacement of bridges at Butterfield Creek in north of St. James, repairing drain pipes and culverts, adding rumble strips and updating the railing.
Project benefits include a smoother road surface, improved drainage and increased safety.
Earlier this summer, Stevens said that during certain seasons truck traffic is forced to detour TH 4 and use county roads, leading to increased traffic of heavier vehicles to other areas. routes and may require trucking companies to change their shipping routes.
Stevens said most state highways are designed for 10-ton vehicles. The reason why TH 4 is not rated for 10 tons has to do with budgetary considerations and the composition of the base material under the road.
(Fritz Busch can be emailed to [email protected]).