New Section of Highway-14 to Feature Special Wildlife Crossing
The new four-lane section of Highway-14 west of Rochester between Dodge Center and Owatonna will also sport a new feature designed to help avoid crashes with wildlife.
The news a few years ago that financing was approved to finally make U.S. Highway 14 four lanes from between Dodge Center all the way to Owatonna was much-heralded by anyone who's had to drive west of Rochester. And if you've been through that stretch recently, you know that crews have been busy for a while now, getting ready to open that new 12.5-mile stretch in 2021.
MnDOT says that entire project will cost just under $108 million dollars, and is designed to improve the capacity, safety, travel times and access between Rochester and Owatonna, as well as the I-35 corridor.
And, to that end, it also includes a new wildlife crossing-- a new feature designed to help avoid car/deer crashes, which are particularly common during the fall in Minnesota. According to a post on MnDOT's Facebook page, the new stretch of Highway-14 crosses two acres where deer usually migrate each year. (Data from the Minnesota DNR provided deer movement data and known migration routes, the post noted.)
The crossing itself is a 10 foot tall and 9-foot wide box culvert structure, approximately 200 feet long. It's being installed under the new section of Highway-14 near Claremont in Dodge Center, and when the highway opens, it's hoped deer and other wildlife will cross UNDER Highway-14 instead of running over it-- where they're more likely to get hit.
I've seen different wildlife crossings where the crossing itself is actually an overpass that's installed OVER the highway, but I haven't seen a crossing like this UNDER the highway. Having hit several deer with my vehicle, I can tell you, it's not fun and can be dangerous (and not just for the deer!) Getting your car repaired after hitting one isn't cheap, either, so hopefully, this new feature will help cut down on some of those collisions.
And if you've lived here in southeast Minnesota for any length of time, you're no doubt familiar with all the cities along that stretch of Highway-14, from Rochester to Byron, Kasson, Dodge Center and Owatonna. But did you know Minnesota also has several cities and towns with names that are a little less familiar-- and lot more naughty! Keep scrolling to see how many of these naughty-sounding Minnesota towns you've heard of...