The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced Wednesday its construction schedule for the year, and it's likely to cause significant traffic delays around the state.
MnDOT says it will spend $1.1 billion on roughly 300 projects. The bigger projects include:
• Replacing the Lafayette Bridge in downtown St. Paul
• A new interchange on I-694 and Highway 10 in Arden Hills
• Construct St. Croix Crossing Bridge and on/off ramps at Highway 95
• Reconstruction of I-35E in Dakota County
• Resurfacing an other improvements to I-494 in Bloomington
• Resurfacing I-94 between Clearwater and St. Cloud
• Expanding Highway 53 to four lanes south of Cook
• Reconstructing I-35 from Esko to Proctor
• A new I-90 bridge over the Mississippi River
• Construct interchange and frontage road system for Highway 52 near Cannon Falls
MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle said the construction will result in slower travel time, and he urged motorists to be patient.
"I know that there will be disruptions in traffic," Zelle said. "But ... this significant investment in our state is essential for our prosperity in the future."
The new program includes work on 87 projects in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and 193 projects in rural Minnesota.
"This is about what we've had in the last couple of years," said MnDOT Deputy Commissioner Bernie Arseneau. "It's bigger than it was five or six years ago but we've been fortunate to have been able to maintain a pretty aggressive program over the last few years."
Zelle and other officials repeatedly warned drivers to use caution when they drive through construction zones. Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol noted that from 2010 to 2012, there were 22 traffic fatalities in construction zones on Minnesota roads, and 2,400 injury crashes.
"You need to be aware of construction zones and change your behavior when you drive through them," Roeske said. "These are your family members, your neighbors and your friends working in these zones."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)