The Rice County Board of Commissioners today met as a Committee of The Whole for a work session with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to hear their draft 10 year plan for District 6.  Heidi Lukes Planning Director for District 6 participated in a roundtable discussion with Commissioners.  District 6 covers southeast Minnesota.  Rice County is in the northwest corner of the district.

Lukes told Commissioners their office has had some significant cuts to their funding necessitating the movement of projects scheduled in the near term to be pushed back to future years.  She said they have been told investments have not gone as well as expected but her office is taking an optimistic approach hoping some future projects will be moved back up with more funding.

Lukes talked about a project scheduled in Rice County for 2021 where construction will be on Minnesota Highway 21 from I-35 to Highway 99.  She said the good news for people who want to access some of the lakes in the Faribault area is there will be no detour for this project.  An open house is planned in Shieldsville sometime this summer.

Lukes did not have a firm date to announce yet.  The MnDOT official also talked with commissioners about the Highway 19 intersection with I-35 which has been an area of concern for a number of year for the county.

County Commissioner Galen Malecha of Northfield praised Lukes for saying something he said he has never heard in his time on the county board.  That they wanted to work with the county on their transportation issues.

Rice County Commissioners Committee of Whole Meeting with MnDot District 6 Planning Director Heidi Lukes. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld