Highway 65 In-Depth Study
A piece of legislation making its way through the state house could change commutes for thousands of Minnesotans living in the North Metro.
"It took me 12 minutes of sitting at the same light, that's a quarter of my commute, which is just ridiculous," says Representative Nolan West.
Representative Nolan West of Blaine is the chief author of a House bill seeking $600,000 to conduct a Highway 65 study between County Road 10 in Spring Lake Park and Bunker Lake Boulevard in Ham Lake.
This 20-mile stretch sees over 50,000 vehicles a day, roughly the same amount of daily traffic 35W supports.
"When you're on 35W and there's 58,000 cars around you, imagine you have a stoplight every half mile, every half mile, the same amount of cars. When you see (Highway) 65 get destroyed as it always does, there's a reason for that," says West.
Anoka County Engineer Doug Fisher testified before the Minnesota House Transportation Board earlier this month on the conditions of Highway 65 and possible solutions to the growing problem.
"What we're looking at is taking these at-grade signalized intersections and transforming them into a grade-separated interchange, which would handle that traffic much more efficiently," says Doug Fischer, Anoka County Engineer.
Anoka County Commissioner Julie Braastad formed the Highway 65 Corridor Coalition to bring all the affected counties together on the project.
"The three counties of Anoka, Isanti and Kanabec and 12 cities and townships that are also members just felt the need to get together and start working towards getting improvements on Highway 65," says Julie Braastad, Anoka County Commissioner.
The Highway 65 bill has been included in the transportation omnibus bill and Representative West says he will be working with Senator Jerry Newton on getting support in the Senate for the Highway 65 study.
Representative West believes the state should be using its 1-point-6 billion dollar surplus and other existing revenue to fund increases in transportation. But he says he's open to exploring new revenue streams as well. If approved, the Highway 65 study could begin this fall.