In Minnesota, infrastructure improvement is one of the most critical issues facing the state's transportation system. Extreme weather, the age of the system and competing investment needs results in roads that are in great need of maintenance and improvement. In 2011, approximately 700 miles of Minnesota's highways were classified as being in "poor" condition. Despite dedicated pavement investments, the miles in "poor" condition were projected to steadily increase to 1,900 by the year 2020.
In response, the Minnesota Department of Transportation worked with Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature to establish Better Roads for a Better Minnesota.
Initiated in 2011, the four-year Better Roads for a Better Minnesota program worked to: improve more than 700 miles of roads; upgrade transit in the Twin Cities metro area, including MnPASS expansion and shoulder hardening for transit; increase safety and ADA accessibility while improving infrastructure and drainage facilities; explore innovative engineering and delivery techniques to get the most out of taxpayer dollars; and provide jobs for Minnesotans.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation was recognized in January by the International Road Federation for its Better Roads program, winning a Project Finance and Economics award for that project. The award will be presented in January 2013 in a ceremony at the Annual IRF Awards Luncheon in Washington D.C. IRF is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization with the mission to encourage and promote development and maintenance of better, safer and more sustainable roads and road networks. Entries were judged on planning, innovative funding, constructing and/or operating a project in a cost efficient manner.
“It is a significant honor to win this award,” said MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel. ‘Transportation agencies and businesses from across the world compete. It says a great deal about Minnesota’s innovative transportation engineering and delivery efforts.”
For more information about the Better Roads for a Better Minnesota program, see www.dot.state.mn.us/betterroads/.