Construction crews are clearing brush and trees along the planned new route of Hwy 14 between Dodge Center and Owatonna, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The work will prepare the new route for construction, which is scheduled to begin its first full season in spring of 2020.

Removal of trees and brush are done after careful consideration of the road placement and the locations of the trees and brush. Crews are expected to complete the work in late winter.

The project will expand 12.5 miles of Hwy 14 from two lanes to four lanes between Dodge Center and Owatonna to complete a continuous four-lane road between Mankato and Rochester. The project is intended to improve the capacity, safety, travel times and access between Rochester and Owatonna, as well as the I-35 corridor. The expansion area is a new route for Hwy 14, which will stay south of the railroad tracks on the west side of the project, travel south of Claremont and connect where the four-lane highway is west of Dodge Center

Shafer Contracting of Shafer, Minn., won the bidding and was awarded the $107,997,119 construction contract for the Hwy 14 expansion project.

Construction will is scheduled to be completed by 2022. Traffic on the new Hwy 14 route is expected in 2021.