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MnDOT approves $50 million contract for Highway 371 expansion

The Minnesota Department of Transportation awarded the final contract to design and build the new segment of Hwy 371 between Nisswa and Jenkins to Mathiowetz Construction at a cost of $49,858,419.

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Highway 371 will be expanded from two lanes to four lanes from Nisswa to Jenkins (nine miles). Work begins with soil boring and testing in December 2015. Tree clearing starts in January 2016. Road construction begins in spring 2016 and will be complete in fall 2017. MN DOT

The Minnesota Department of Transportation awarded the final contract to design and build the new segment of Hwy 371 between Nisswa and Jenkins to Mathiowetz Construction at a cost of $49,858,419.

Now that the contract has been awarded, work can begin on the 9-mile, four-lane expansion. Design and field work will begin immediately, with soil boring and testing in December. The first major construction activity will begin in January when crews clear trees for the new roadway. All lanes of the new segment of Hwy 371 are scheduled to open in fall 2017.

The plan is for Mathiowetz to complete clearing and grubbing operations this winter, when endangered northern long-eared bats are hibernating elsewhere.

In a release, MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle hailed the contract, and tied it into reaffirming MnDOT's push for more funding from the Legislature.

"This is a long-awaited project that is possible thanks to $45 million in savings realized through improved efficiencies at MnDOT," Zelle said. "This project will improve safety, reduce travel times and strengthen local economies and quality of life. However, as our roadways age and more funding is required to maintain existing roads, it will become increasingly difficult to deliver similar expansion projects without a long-term and sustainable increase to transportation funding."

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In addition to expanding 371, MnDOT said the project will also:

• Create a "Pequot Lakes Gateway" that provides safe and easy access to the city with a new interchange at County Road 11, and road connections into Pequot Lakes at County Road 168/107 and County Road 112

• Install a new box culvert bridge spanning Cullen Brook

• Realign and improve access to the Paul Bunyan Trail

• Keep Hwy 371 open to two lanes of traffic throughout construction

• Make improvements to the local road systems in Pequot Lakes and Jenkins

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Highway 371 will be expanded from two lanes to four lanes from Nisswa to Jenkins (nine miles). Work begins with soil boring and testing in December 2015. Tree clearing starts in January 2016. Road construction begins in spring 2016 and will be complete in fall 2017. MN DOT

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